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Pregame: Another try for new lineup

CHICAGO — The Pirates are using the same, revamped lineup today as they had Wednesday in the 4-2 loss against the Braves. “We’re going to try it for a while,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “Our inconsistency speaks for itself. I’m trying to find a way to help them — whether it’s the lineup, whether it’s the mentality — to push some more runs across.”

The move worked out well Wednesday for Jose Tabata (leadoff) and Steve Pearce (No. 2 hitter), who went a combined 5 for 9 with a walk and two runs scored. Pearce, especially, had a good game (except for that final at-bat). No so much, though, for Andrew McCutchen, who went 0 for 4 with a walk.

Pearce is in the 2 spot again today, as the Cubs are starting a lefty. That will change when a right-hander pitches. “We’ll probably mix and match,” Hurdle said. “I’m not closed-minded about trying something new and seeing who might fit in there. I think I’ve hit Garrett Jones second this year already. His on-base percentage plays, especially against right-handed pitchers.”

Hurdle as ruled out putting Neil Walker in the 2 hole, simply because Walker is a better run-producer lower in the lineup. “As I’ve done my analysis of which spots in our lineup show up the most with runners in scoring position, it’s 4 and 5. He has the ability to drive in a run,” Hurdle said.

Lineups for this afternoon’s game:

Pirates (22-26) – 1. Jose Tabata lf, 2. Steve Pearce 3b, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Neil Walker 2b, 5. Matt Diaz rf, 6. Chris Snyder c, 7. Lyle Overbay 1b, 8. Ronny Cedeno ss, 9. Kevin Correia rhp (6-4, 3.84)

Cubs (22-26) – 1. Kosuke Fukudome rf, 2. Darwin Barney 2b, 3. Starlin Castro ss, 4. Aramis Ramirez 3b, 5. Carlos Pena 1b, 6. Alfonso Soriano lf, 7. Tony Campana cf, 8. Koyie Hill c, 9. Doug Davis lhp (0-2, 8.31)

4 Comments

  1. If we did not have such a cheap owner the smart off season move would have been to sign an established hitter to take some of the pressure off our young guys. We might be in first place with a 30 home run guy in the middle of the lineup!

  2. wouldn’t it be nice to have aramis batting cleanup for us!

  3. Matt Diaz & Overbay have to be 2 of the worst deals the pirates have made in recent yrs… overbay’s defense is his ONLY saving grace & so far its been below his standards,,,i.e. he’s on the downside of his career as our most of the pirates FA signees…… sooner or later…. NH, FC, & do Nutting are gonna have to OVERPAY for a FA to come to pittsburgh…thats what its gonna take plain n simple….

  4. Ron — I’m not defending ownership, but signing a 30-HR guy is much, much easier said than done. Beyond the $$ issue, the Pirates have problems luring top-caliber free agents because those guys want protection in the lineup and they want a ring.

    Steve — It would’ve been great to have Aramis Ramirez in the lineup over the past few years, but maybe not so much now. Rammy went into today’s (Saturday’s) game hitting .285 with one HR and 17 RBI. Overbay, who some have already labeled a bust, was hitting .234 with 4 HR and 16 RBI.

    Mario — I hear what you’re saying, but don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen. This ownership is not — ever — going to go into overpay mode. Their offer to Jorge de la Rosa was slightly above scale and he still re-signed with the Rox. And a good thing, too, as he blew out his elbow this week. Imagine if the Pirates had upped their offer to a ridiculous amount, signed de la Rosa and then he got hurt — everyone would be howling about how the front office is stupid. Gotta look at it from both sides sometimes.

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