By Chris Adamski
NORTH SHORE – Through the first 49 games of the season, the Pirates used lineups featuring among other things six different second basemen, 10 different outfielders (six in left, six in center, five in right), nine players hitting out of the No. 6 spot in the lineup and an incredible 12 players in the 7-hole.
Finally, is some continuity being established? For all three games of this weekend series against the Mets, the Pirates used the same lineup, 1-through-8.
Pirates-Mets, 8:05 pm first pitch pic.twitter.com/86vjTNxKw6
— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) May 28, 2017
“Just tired about all the questions about all the different lineups,” manager Clint Hurdle deadpanned when asked about it before the series finale Sunday night.
The assembled media chuckled. Hurdle didn’t. Perhaps that’s because he’s relieved that – at last (at least for now) – the Pirates have a regular starting eight it can turn to on most days.
Of course, regularly scheduled maintenance days for his players, certain tough matchups and injury could alter things. But for now, Hurdle has a group he can rely on.
“We’ve got some guys back, and the one thing I did want to try to get these guys back together and get them a push,” Hurdle said. “The lineup is going to change tomorrow (a day game). We’ve got some guys that need to get a break here and then. I wanted to get a push with these guys all back together for a three-game set. The night games all played to that strength as well.”
Less than three weeks after surgery for testicular cancer, Jameson Taillon pitched in a live professional game Sunday. The righthanded went three innings for the Double-A Altoona Curve in a rehab start in Erie against the Eastern League rival Seawolves.
“I got a report from the game from (senior minor-league pitching coordinator Scott Mitchell),” Hurdle said. “He was very efficient. It was get ahead, stay ahead. Put people away. Life with the sinker, two-seamer. The four-seamer was true with velocity. He elevated it when he wanted to. The curveball he threw for strikes and for chase. Changeup was inconsistent, but the two-seamer was a very good pitch for him. Very efficient outing.”
— Altoona Curve (@AltoonaCurve) May 28, 2017
Taillon allowed no runs on one hit and one walk with six strikeouts in three innings. He threw 47 pitches, 29 for strikes.
Hurdle said the next step for Taillon is not yet planned out. Hurdle also declined to discuss any specific health-related questions or provide a timetable for Taillon’s return to the Pirates.
“We want to take it slow with him, so he doesn’t feel any unneeded urgency,” Hurdle said. “He needs to get right when he’s right, as he feels getting right happens because this is uncharted territory. I spent some time with him yesterday as he was prepping. He needed to go out and get ground balls yesterday. He’s going to go hit again. He’s been away from some things. Controlling the running game and pitching out of the stretch. He got back in form pretty quickly at the level he was at today, so we’ll see where he can take it from there. It’s encouraging. We’ll continue to see how it plays out.”
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“A very gritty at-bat. He kept fighting. He finally got a ball that caught a little more of the plate than the ones he fouled off and drilled it.”
>>>Sunday’s game: Mets at Pirates, 8:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: ESPN. Radio: 93.7 FM
Mets: Curtis Granderson 7, Jose Reyes 6, Jay Bruce 9, Neil Walker 4, Lucas Duda 3, Asdrubal Cabrera 6, Travis d’Arnaud 2, Juan Lagares 8, RHP Matt Harvey (3-3, 5.36)
Pirates: Adam Frazier 7, Josh Harrison 4, Josh Bell 3, Gregory Polanco 9, David Freese 5, Andrew McCutchen 8, Francisco Cervelli 2, Jordy Mercer 6, RHP Tyler Glasnow (2-3, 6.69)
Gamecast: Harvey has issued at least four walks in four of his last five starts, including the past three in a row. He has walked 26 overall this season (50 1⁄3 IP). Last year, Harvey walked 25 in 92 2⁄3 IP. … In his last outing, Harvey gave up two runs over five innings and beat the Padres. It was the first time since April 16 he did not allow more than two runs in a game. … In five road starts this year, Harvey is 1-2 with a 5.60 ERA. … Glasnow has never faced the Mets.
>>> Monday’s game: Diamondbacks at Pirates, 4:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Diamondbacks: Lineup TBA, RHP Randall Delgado (1-0, 3.82)
Pirates: Lineup TBA, RHP Trevor Williams (2-3, 5.93)
>>> Tuesday’s game: Diamondbacks at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Diamondbacks: Lineup TBA, LHP Robbie Ray (4-3, 3.45)
Pirates: Lineup TBA, RHP Ivan Nova (5-3, 2.83)
>>> Wednesday’s game: Diamondbacks at Pirates, 12:35 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Diamondbacks: Lineup TBA, RHP Zack Godley (1-1, 1.99)
Pirates: Lineup TBA, RHP Chad Kuhl (1-5, 6.29)
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.