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Pregame: Lefties, Lee, Crotta and Hart

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SAN FRANCISCO — The Pirates today face a left-handed starter for the second game in a row. They are 18-14 against southpaws, even though many of their batting stats against them are a bit inferior than against righties.

vs.                 Avg.      OBP       OPS       BAbip

RHP            .246       .312       .672       .300

LHP            .240       .307       .664       .296

So, win the wins against lefties? “We have, I think, just a minor offensive edge against left-handed pitching than against right-handed pitching,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “Neither one of them, are where we could be or should be or where we’ll end up. We’ve had success against left-handers. I really can’t put my finger on it other than we’ve played clean games and we’ve found ways to execute and score runners when they’re on. It seems like we just fundamentally perform better against left-handed pitchers.”

Perhaps some of that magic is fading. The Pirates have lost their past four games against lefties, including last night’s 6-0 setback against Madison Bumgarner.

»»» Derrek Lee was scratched from the lineup today due to a flare-up of left hand soreness.

»»» Pitcher Mike Crotta was released. The move was made to clear a 40-man roster spot when Lee and Ryan Ludwick arrived via trades. If Crotta clears waviers, the Pirates hope to re-sign him.

»»» Right-hander Kevin Hart yesterday had yet another surgery. Dr. James Andrews ‘scoped Hart’s shoulder and, according to a team release, was “pleased with the procedure.” Hart is expected to be — stop me if you’ve heard this before — ready for the start of spring training.

Lineups for today’s game:

Pirates (55-60) – 1. Andrew McCutchen cf, 2. Steve Pearce 3b, 3. Garrett Jones 1b, 4. Ryan Ludwick lf, 5. Matt Diaz rf, 6. Brandon Wood 2b, 7. Ronny Cedeno ss, 8. Michael McKenry c, 9. Jeff Karstens rhp (8-6, 3.05)

Giants (64-53) – 1. Andres Torres cf, 2. Jeff Keppinger 2b, 3. Pablo Sandoval 3b, 4. Aubrey Huff 1b, 5. Cody Ross rf, 6. Orlando Cabrera ss, 7. Aaron Rowand lf, 8. Elie Whiteside c, 9. Jonathan Sanchez lhp (4-6, 3.10)

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