All posts by Rob Biertempfel

Twilight for McCutchen

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Story by Rob Biertempfel/Photos by Christopher Horner

Andrew McCutchen is now just another player on the Pirates’ roster. Nothing special. He has no cachet, no stature with management.

That’s how it appears, at least, after what transpired CutchAtBatlate in Tuesday’s 8-4 loss against the Nationals. And, to be sure, McCutchen and his teammates have taken notice.

In the seventh inning, the Pirates scored three runs to pull within 6-4. With a runner on third base, McCutchen stuck out swinging to end the inning.

Manager Clint Hurdle then removed McCutchen from the game as part of a double-switch. Jose Osuna, who entered as a pinch-hitter and delivered an RBI single in the seventh, stayed in to play left field. Adam Frazier replaced McCutchen in center.

No long ago, it would have been laughable to suggest switching out McCutchen, a five-time All-Star and former MVP, in the late innings of a two-run game.

Yet, this version of McCutchen is batting .206 with a .670 OPS, and is on pace for 121 strikeouts. Remember how badly he scuffled in the first half of last season? His performance at this point is much worse than it was a year ago — after 39 games in 2016, he was batting .248 with an .805 OPS.

Explaining the move, Hurdle said he knew Osuna, who was in the No. 9 spot, would get another at-bat. If McCutchen stayed in the game, Osuna’s spot would go to a relief pitcher, then later to either Chris Stewart or Gift Ngoepe as a pinch-hitter. “There was no guarantee we’d get to (McCutchen’s No. 3 spot) again,” Hurdle said. “So that’s why he was taken out.”

With two outs in the ninth inning, Osuna singled and Frazier doubled. Josh Harrison struck out to end the game — with Stewart, who would have pinch hit in what was McCutchen’s spot, standing on deck.

After the game, McCutchen made a quick getaway. He was not in the clubhouse when it was opened to the media. 

UPDATE 7:32 p.m.: I spoke with McCutchen one-on-one this afternoon. You can read his comments here …

I did speak with a couple other players, who brought up McCutchen’s situation without being prompted. The vibe was not good.

CutchLookUpYes, McCutchen is struggling. Everyone can see that. But when the Face of the Franchise — a guy with a team-friendly contract who was nearly  traded last winter, who then was moved out of his long-time position a couple of weeks later, who faces another position switch to left when Starling Marte returns, who almost certainly will be dealt away by the end of July like he was Nyjer Morgan or Jose Tabata or Alex Presley — is benched in favor of a rookie who wasn’t even on the opening day roster, regardless of the outcome in a game, it hits guys hard. They start looking over their shoulders. If it can happen to McCutchen, who’s next?

This kind of thing is how managers lose their clubhouses. It drives a wedge. It does not end well, even if just in the short term. The situation with McCutchen, Pirates management and the condition of the clubhouse will bear watching as May melts into June and on toward what could be a turbulent July.

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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Game 39: Back at it

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Story by Rob Biertempfel

Miss me last week? Or perhaps you didn’t notice I was away. Either way, I’m back for the start of this homestand, then I’ll be off to Atlanta. This is a chance for the Pirates to recoup some confidence after a dumpster fire of a road trip out west. They’re 5-1 so far this year against the NL East, having swept the Braves and taken two of three from the Marlins. In 47 career games against the Nationals, Andrew McCutchen is hitting .333 with 14 home runs and 32 RBI. In 27 games vs. the Nats at PNC Park, he’s hitting .370.

>>> Gregory Polanco, who tweaked his left hamstring over the weekend in Phoenix, is not in the lineup today. UPDATE 4:13 p.m. : Polanco spoke briefly in the clubhouse about a half-hour ago and said he … 1. felt better, 2.  hadn’t yet tested his hammy in the batting cage, 3. did not believe he’s in good enough shape to run at game speed. 

>>> Back in December, it looked for a while like this series would mark Andrew McCutchen’s return to Pittsburgh for the first time with a different team. That trade didn’t pan out — the Nats instead dealt for Adam Eaton, who’s out for the season due to a torn ACL — and McCutchen stayed put. I wonder if, considering the state of both teams at the moment, he doesn’t sometimes wish it had gone through.

>>> The Nats haven’t yet named their starting pitcher for Wednesday.  Jacob Turner was supposed to pitch, but he pitched one inning of relief on Sunday, as Washington’s bullpen continued to struggle. One intriguing possibility: RHP Erick Fredde. The Nats’ top pitching prospect is 2-3 with a 3.16 ERA at Double-A Harrisburg.

>>> Tuesday: Nationals at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Nationals (24-13): Trea Turner 6, Jayson Werth 7, Bryce Harper 9, Ryan Zimmerman 3, Anthony Rendon 5, Matt Wieters 2, Michael A Taylor 8, Wilmer Difo 4, RHP Stephen Strasburg (3-1, 3.28)

Pirates (16-22): Adam Frazier 7, Josh Harrison 4, Andrew McCutchen 8, John Jaso 9, David Freese 5, Josh Bell 3, Francisco Cervelli 2, Jordy Mercer 6, RHP Chad Kuhl (1-3, 5.81) 1

>>> Wednesday: Nationals at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Nationals: TBA vs. Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole (1-4, 3.06)

>>> Thursday: Nationals at Pirates, 12:35 p.m. PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (3-1, 3.88). Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (1-3, 7.98)

>>> Friday: Phillies at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Phillies: TBA. Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (2-2, 6.41)

>>> Saturday: Phillies at Pirates, 4:05 p.m. PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Phillies TBA. Pirates RHP Ivan Nova (3-3, 2.48)

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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Game 31: Williams steps into rotation

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Story and videos by Rob Biertempfel/Photo by Christopher Horner

WilliamsST2017RHP Trevor Williams will start on Monday in place of RHP Jameson Taillon, who’s on the DL with a sore groin. From what manager Clint Hurdle said last night, neither RHP Drew Hutchison (0-1, 5.00 ERA in five starts for Triple-A Indianapolis) noR LHP Steven Brault (0-3, 3.52 in six starts) was an option for the gig.

“Williams is our sixth depth starter,” Hurdle said. “Hutchison needs to continue to pitch (at Indy). Brault is in a place we thought he was at last year when we called him up. He’s getting better. We believe this our best option and opportunity right now. Williams is ahead of Brault and Hutchison right now. Those guys will stay in line and continue to pitch.”

>>> Hurdle said Andrew McCutchen is getting a scheduled day off today. Josh Harrison, however, is not in the lineup due to what the skipper described as a “throbbing foot,” which was struck by a foul tip a couple of days ago. Both players are slated to play every game of the upcoming road trip.

>>> Free advice for the brain surgeon who schedules the Pittsburgh Marathon: Next year, pick up a Pirates schedule first and pick a day when they’re not playing a day game a few hundred yards from your finish line.

>>> Josh Lindblom was in Columbus with Indy when he found out around 2:45 yesterday afternoon he was being sent to Pirates. “(Manager Andy) Barkett called me in and said it was good news and bad news,” Lindblom said. “The bad news was for them because I wasn’t going to be able to bring donuts in anymore on day games in Indy. … There’s a little spot called Titus Bakery right on my way to the field where I stop. (The team) is devastated. I don’t think the strength and conditioning staff is devastated, though.”

CAUTION: This video is rated R for one profanity that drops about halfway through:

>>> Yinz want links? I’ve got links:

Pirates 2, Brewers 1: They blew two early scoring chances and nearly wasted another gem by Gerrit Cole.

Notebook: In which Taillon is disabled, Bell tinkers, Kuhl is stuck in a rut and Rivero keeps on trucking.

>>> Sunday: Brewers at Pirates, 1:35 p.m. PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Brewers (15-16): Jonathan Villar 4, Eric Thames 3, Hernan Perez 7, Travis Shaw 5, Domingo Santana 9, Jeff Bandy 2, Keon Broxton 8, Orlando Arcia 6, RHP Zach Davies (2-2, 6.07) 1

Pirates (14-16): John Jaso 3, Jordy Mercer 6, Josh Bell 3, Gregory Polanco 8, Jose Osuna 7, Phil Gosselin 4, Gift Ngoepe 5, Chris Stewart 2, RHP Tyler Glasnow (1-1, 6.97)

Gamecast: Davies left his last start on Monday vs. the Cardinals with a 4-2 lead (5.0 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 3 K), but wound up with a no-decision. He went 0-2 with a 8.79 ERA in his first three starts. Over his past three starts, he is 2-0 with a 3.52 ERA. Davies has not turned in a quality start this season. … An MRI exam showed OF Ryan Braun has a strained flexor in his right arm, but he won’t need to go on the DL. Bruan was ruled out for this series, but might be able to pinch-hit by mid-week. … Glasnow recorded his first big league victory in his last start. He also went 1 for 2 with a pair of walks and three RBI in the 12-3 win vs. the Reds. Glasnow has never faced the Brewers. … On April 21, 3B Travis Shaw hit a 458-foot homer off Cardinals ace Carlos Martinez. With an exit velo of 113.8 mph, it was the Brewers’ hardest-hit ball this season. “One of the best balls I’ve ever hit,” Shaw said. The Brewers acquired Shaw last December as part of the trade that sent reliever Tyler Thornburg to the Red Sox.

>>> Monday: Pirates at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (1-1, 5.40) vs. Dodgers: LHP Alex Wood (2-0, 3.28)

>>> Tuesday: Pirates at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (3-3, 2.14) vs. Dodgers: LHP Julio Urias (0-0, 0.84)

>>> Wednesday: Pirates at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (1-2, 5.54) vs. Dodgers: RHP Kenta Maeda (2-2, 5.81)

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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Game 30: LeBlanc continues to impress

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Story and video by Rob Biertempfel/Photo by Christopher Horner

LeBlanc2017It was a relatively quick look that the Pirates got at Wade LeBlanc last season. The lefty appeared in just eight games after being acquired from the Mariners in September, but LeBlanc showed enough to impress manager Clint Hurdle.

“In the 12 innings that he pitched, he gave us a nice shot in the arm when we were treading water,” Hurdle said. “He had a couple multi-inning appearances. We put him in a leverage situation in Milwaukee one night. He’s got a slow heartbeat. Man has no ego. He’s a survivor. He’s very diligent and conscientious. I like the man, I like the skill set. He’s a guy who’s been around. He doesn’t try to overthink things. He’s just looking for an opportunity to pitch and believes he can make a difference on the mound.”

LeBlanc, 32, made his big league debut in 2008 as a starter for the Padres. In 2012, when he was with the Marlins, LeBlanc worked as a part-time reliever. The Pirates are the first team to use him full-time out of the bullpen in the majors. The Pirates brought LeBlanc back for $750,000 this season. The deal includes a $1.25 million club option for 2018 or a $50,000 buyout.

>>> Yinz want links? I’ve got links:

Pirates 4, Brewers 0: Wade LeBlanc tosses three scoreless innings and comes up with a big hit, too.

Notebook: In which Jared Hughes says “Hello” to Pittsburgh, the Pirates say “Stick around” to Elias Diaz, and Hurdle says he admires Eric Thames’ perseverance.

ClementeRing

Want to wear Roberto Clemente’s snazzy suit? How about his 1971 World Series ring? You can buy them at the All-Star FanFest auction.

>>> Last night’s game drew 21,129 (paid attendance, that is). Perhaps I should have been more specific and asked if any game would draw more than 20K in actual, physical butts in the seats.

>>> Saturday: Brewers at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Brewers (15-15): Jonathan Villar 4, Eric Thames 3, Hernan Perez 6, Travis Shaw 5, Doingo Santana 9, Manny Pina 2, Nick Franklin 7, Keon Broxton 8, RHP Matt Garza (1-0, 3.38) 1

Pirates (13-16): Josh Harrison 5, Josh Bell 3, Andrew McCutchen 8, Gregory Polanco 7, Francisco Cervelli 2, John Jaso 9, Jordy Mercer 6, Gift Ngoepe 4, RHP Gerrit Cole (1-3, 3.50) 1

Gamecast: Garza began the season on the 10-day DL due to a strained right groin. … In 13 career starts vs. the Pirates, Garza is 3-6 with a 4.43 ERA. … Brewers RHP Corey Knebel registered at least one strikeout in each of his first 15 appearances (14.1 IP, 19 K). He went into this series as the only reliever in the majors with at least one whiff in every outings (minimum 10 games). … Cole has dropped each of his past two decisions since beating the Cubs on April 14 at Wrigley Field. He has gotten one run of support or less in three of his six starts. Cole has yielded three earned runs in 13.0 IP at PNC Park this year. … Andrew McCutchen continues to see a lot of sliders. Per Statcast, he’s batting .200 with a .305 slugging percentage against sliders, with one home run and 79 whiffs on 520 pitches. He’s batting .407 on all pitches that are middle-away, but .263 on those that are up-away and .256 on down-away.

>>> Sunday: Brewers at Pirates, 1:35 p.m. PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Brewers: RHP Zach Davies (2-2, 6.07) vs. Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (1-1, 6.97)

>>> Monday: Pirates at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (2-1, 3.31) vs. Dodgers: LHP Alex Wood (2-0, 3.28)

>>> Tuesday: Pirates at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (3-3, 2.14) vs. Dodgers: LHP Julio Urias (0-0, 0.84)

>>> Wednesday: Pirates at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (1-2, 5.54) vs. Dodgers: RHP Kenta Maeda (2-2, 5.81)

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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Game 29: Own a piece of the Great One

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By Rob Biertempfel/Photos and video by Rob Biertempfel

ClementeSuitThere was an autographed ball, two World Series rings, a couple of Gold Glove awards, and the uniform he wore during the 1960 World Series. Yet, the most eye-catching piece of Roberto Clemente memorabilia on display in the PNC Park interview room this afternoon was a boldly patterned suit.

We’re talking wide lapels, a sort of ziz-zag, geometic pattern, and not a stitch of natural fiber. “He was stylin’ at all times,” Roberto Clemente Jr. said with a smile. “If anyone could pull it off, it would be him.”

Those items are among hundreds of personal effects from the Clemente family’s collection that will be auctioned during the All-Star FanFest on July 11 in Miami.

“So many fans come to me and say, ‘I used to have your father’s baseball card, but my mom threw out all of my cards. I wish I could have that back. Do you have anything of his?’ ” Clemente Jr. said. “So many people want a piece of him. It’s time to share.”

Clememte Jr. said the family has not yet decided how to use the proceeds from the auction.

ClementeStuffOther items that will go on the block are:

  • Silver bats Clemente got for winning the National League batting titles in 1964 and 1967
  • A Hall of Fame induction plaque
  • The 1971 Dodge Charger Clemente won for being named MVP of the 1971 World Series
  • A Pirates road jersey from 1966, when Clemente won the NL MVP award.
  • Clemente’s ’60 World Series uniform, which is valued at $250,000 to $500,000.

Hunt Auctions, which is based near Philadelphia, will handle the sales. In 2013, more than $1.7 million was generated by a Hunt auction of 200 pieces of Bill Mazeroski’s memorabilia.

>>> UPDATE 4;17 p.m. – Elis Diaz is still in the clubhouse (although not in the lineup), so the Pirates will carry three catchers for at least one more day. “We need to give it a little bit of a time lapse to see how it plays out,” manager Clint Hurdle said. Hurdle added that Francisco Cervelli had “no hiccups” with his sore right foot after starting yesterday’s game. … David Freese (hammy) and Adam Frazier (hammy) did some infield agility drills and ran in the outfield. Hurdle said Frazier is “approaching” a minor league rehab stint. Freese said he “is coming along fine,” but offered no clue about the timing of his next step. Were those sprints Freese was running in the outfield? “They were NOT sprints,” Freese said, then laughed. “Well, maybe those are my sprints, as close as I can get anymore.”

>>> It’s been a while since we’ve seen this guy. Welcome back to Pittsburgh, Jared Hughes.

The Pirates released Hughes on March 29, the final day of spring training in Florida. He signed with the Brewers on April 2 and opened the season on their active roster. “It was difficult leaving a group of people I really enjoyed being with,” Hughes said. “But it was nice to enter an organization that was so welcoming. It was really difficult right off the bat. But when I got to Milwaukee, it was an easy transition.”

Last season, Hughes made 67 appearances. If not for a sore lat that forced him to open the season on the DL, he would have ended up closer to his career high of 76 outings set in 2015. The righty put up a 3.03 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP.

This year, Hughes has pitched in 11 games for the Brewers and posted a 3.27 ERA and a 1.82 WHIP.  “The ball is coming out well. It’s sinking,” he said. “That’s what I do, throw sinkers.”

>>> Yinz want links? I’ve got links:

Reds 4, Pirates 2: “The whole problem was the command of my four-seamer.”

Notebook: In which Cervelli returns, Polanco scuffles and Diaz’s days are numbered

>>> Friday: Brewers at Pirates at Marlins, 7:05 p.m. PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Brewers (15-14): Jonathan Villar 4, Eric Thames 3, Hernan Perez 7, Travis Shaw 5, Manny Pina 2, Nick Franklin 9, Keon Broxton 8, Orlando Arcia 6, RHP Jimmy Nelson (1-2, 5.34) 1

Pirates (12-16): 1. Josh Harrison 5, Josh Bell 3, Andrew McCutchen 8, Gregory Polanco 7, Francisco Cervelli 2, Jose Osuna 9, Alen Hanson 4, Jordy Mercer 6, TBA RHP Chad Kuhl (1-2, 6.26) 1

Gamecast: Kuhl was cleared to pitch by the training staff. He left his last start on Sunday in Miami after being struck in the right knee by a line drive. … Kuhl has allowed two or fewer earned runs in four of his five outings. As a rookie last year, he allowed a total of three earned runs over two starts vs. the Brewers. … One lousy start will murder your ERA, huh? Aside from the April 24 wipeout vs. the Cubs (9 ER in 1.2 IP), Kuhl has a 2.95 ERA this season. … Opponents are hitting .313 with a .470 slugging percentage this season against Nelson’s sinker, which he throws on 48 percent of his pitches. .. Nelson has not made it through six innings in any of his previous three starts (all losses by the Brewers) and has given up 15 earned runs in that span.

>>> Saturday: Brewers at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Brewers: RHP Matt Garza (1-0, 3.38) vs. Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (1-3, 3.50)

>>> Sunday: Brewers at Pirates, 1:35 p.m. PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Brewers: RHP Zach Davies (2-2, 6.07) vs. Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (1-1, 6.97)

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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Game 24: Nova goes the distance

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By Rob Biertempfel/Photo by Getty Images

NovaGettyMIAMI — Remember when it seemed manager Clint Hurdle never let one of his starting pitchers complete a game? Last night, there was a moment in the eighth inning when Ivan Nova left a curveball up in the zone and Marcell Ozuna, who had whiffed on curves in the second and fifth innings, whacked it to left-center for a leadoff single. Was Nova tiring? Was it time to yank him? Hurdle indicated it was an easy call to allow Nova to go the distance.

“(Felipe) Rivero was up in the eighth, just because it can happen in a hurry,” Hurdle said. “I wanted to make sure we were going to give (Nova) rope to pitch the (entire) game. We had a pitch count for him that he never got to. He never got near it. So, I just wanted to let him pitch. A couple of times earlier, he’d shown the ability to get right back. My goodness, three hits on the night? It was his night.”

Nova used a tidy 95 pitches to blank the Marlins. It’s his highest pitch count this season — which is impressive, because he’s worked at least six innings in every start — and the second-most he’s thrown in 16 starts with the Pirates.

>>> Behind the left field wall at Marlins Park is The Clevelander, a brassy nightclub that usually attracts a big postgame crowd, especially on weekends. The press box is windowless (because domed stadium), so the thump, thump, thump of dance music pours in as we write our game stories. The music always is loud, but last night it was drowned out by the cheering from a huge contingent of Pirates fans who watched the Penguins-Capitals game on TV.

>>> Joe Block likes to poke around on baseball-reference.com, and thank goodness because it saves us all a lot of time and energy.

>>> UPDATE 11:12 a.m. – The Marlins will hold a pregame ceremony today to honor Ichiro Suzuki for passing the 3,000-hit plateau. The event originally was scheduled for last September, but was postponed due to the death of pitcher Jose Fernandez.

>>> BREAKING 1:35 p.m. – The Pirates  bought the contract of catcher John Bormann from High-A Bradenton and optioned outfielder Danny Ortiz to Triple-A Indianapolis. Bormann was en route by car from Bradenton as the game against the Marlins got under way. He was a 24th-round pick in 2015 and hit .231 in seven games with Bradenton.

The sudden addition of a backup catcher suggests an injury to starter Francisco Cervelli. The Pirates have not yet made any announcement about Cervelli’s status. Backup Chris Stewart started Sunday’s game against the Marlins.

Cervelli started each of the previous five games. On Saturday night, he moved slowly down the line on two grounders and a fly out. “If I am not bleeding, I am not going out,” Cervelli said. “Gotta keep playing.”

>>> Yinz want links? All right, all right, for cryin’ out loud. I’ve got links:

Pirates 4, Marlins 0: Nova, Nova, Nova, Nova, four straight walks, Nova, Nova, great infield defense, Nova, Nova.

Notebook: In which Freese is disabled, Ortiz makes his debut, the catchers give a bit more, and Taillon whiffs (and it was a good thing).

>>> Sunday: Pirates at Marlins, 1:10 p.m. Marlins Park, Miami. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: Josh Harrison 5, Josh Bell 3, Andrew McCutchen 8, Gregory Polanco 7, John Jaso 9, Jordy Mercer 6, Alen Hanson 4, Chris Stewart 2, RHP Chad Kuhl (1-2, 6.63) 1

Marlins: Dee Gordon 4, Martin Prado 5, Christian Yelich 8, Giancarlo Stanton 9, Marcell Ozuna 7, A.J. Ellis 2, Miguel Rojas 6, RHP Tom Koehler (1-1, 5.14) 1

Gamecast: Koehler is 0-4 with a 5.14 ERA in five career starts vs. the Pirates. … Kuhl took his first career loss on Aug. 20, 2026, vs. the Marlins at PNC Park. He gave up three runs (two earned) in six innings. The big blow was a two-run homer by Xavier Scruggs. … Andrew McCutchen has reached base in 18 consecutive games. It’s the longest active streak in the NL and is tied for longest in the league this season. … Josh Bell has reached base in 13 straight games. … Last night, J.T. Realmuto had his eight-game hitting streak snapped. It was the Marlins’ second-longest this season, behind Dee Gordon’s nine-game binge from April 5-14.

>>> Monday: Pirates at Reds, 7:10 p.m. Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (1-3, 3.60) Reds: LHP Amir Garrett (2-2, 5.09)

>>> Tuesday: Pirates at Reds, 7:10 p.m. Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 7.98) Reds: RHP Scott Feldman (1-2, 3.25)

>>> Wednesday: Pirates at Reds, 7:10 p.m. Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (2-0, 2.08) Reds: RHP Rookie Davis (0-1, 11.17)

>>> Thursday: Pirates at Reds, 12:35 p.m. Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (3-2, 1.50) Reds: RHP Tim Adleman (0-1, 4.70)

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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Game 23: Jamo at the bat

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By Rob Biertempfel/Photo by The Associated Press

TaillonVsMarlinsMIAMI — It’s not often than a pitcher gets to bat with the bases loaded, but that’s where Jameson Taillon found himself — twice — in the second inning of last night’s 12-2 blowout of the Marlins. “I knew someone was going to ask about that,” Taillon said after the game. “I’m aware I’m the only guy who didn’t get a hit there.” (Actually neither did Gregory Polanco, who flied out and was hit by a pitch, and Josh Bell, who struck out and walked).

In his first at-bat, Taillon struck out swinging against lefty Adam Conley with the bases juiced and one out. As it turned out, that was the second-best thing that could have happened. The Pirates put their next eight batters on base and scored eight runs. If Taillon had made contact, he probably would have grounded into an inning-ending double play.

“I actually had that in my head,” Taillon said with a smile. “I didn’t strike out on purpose. I was thinking that (Conley) was struggling, so I took a first-pitch fastball to see if maybe he’d fall behind. Then he threw me a changeup and a slider. I don’t get paid to hit those.”

With two outs, Taillon came up again against reliever Jose Urena. Before the first pitch, Marlins catcher J.T. Realmulto looked up at Taillon and asked, “When you got to the park today, did you think you’d have two ABs in the second inning?” Taillon grounded into an inning-ending double play.

>>> UPDATE 4:31 p.m. – David Freese was placed on the 10-day disabled list (retroactive to April 26) with a strained right hamstring. Outfielder Danny Ortiz, 27, was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis.

In 17 games with Indy, Ortiz batted .217 with a .499 OPS and struck out 13 times in 60 at-bats. He is a natural center fielder, but also can play the corner spots. “Ever since I was a child, I’ve been a center fielder,” Ortiz said through translator Mike Gonzalez. “I feel the most comfortable in center field. But ever since I signed, they’ve moved me around. So, I feel comfortable in any position in the outfield, but of course my passion is for center field.”

>>> Yinz want links? I’ve got links:

Pirates 12, Marlins 2: The Pirates are in for a lotta ball over the next 2 1/2 weeks. This was a good way to start.

Notebook: In which Gift handles celebrity, Freese is still sore, and the Pirates pay their bills

>>> What did you watch last night?

>>> Saturday: Pirates at Marlins, 7:10 p.m. Marlins Park, Miami. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: Josh Harrison 5, Josh Bell 3, Andrew McCutchen 8, Gregory Polanco 7, Francisco Cervelli 2, John Jaso 9, Jordy Mercer 6, Gift Ngoepe 4, RHP Ivan Nova (2-2, 2.00) 1

Marlins: Dee Gordon 4, Martin Prado 5, Christian Yelich 8, Giancarlo Stanton 9, Justin Bour 3, Marcell Ozuna 7, J.T. Realmuto 2, Adeiny Hechavarria 6,  RHP Dan Straily (1-1, 3.92) 1

Gamecast: In his last outing, Straily gave up two runs on four hits in seven innings vs. the Padres. Straily walked one and struck out 14, making him the 10th pitcher in Marlins history to collect 14-plus whiffs in one game. … Going into this series, Marlins outfielders led the majors by driving in a run every 4.78 at-bats and homering every 14.35 at-bats. … Marcell Ozuna’s 21 RBI since opening day is his highest total in any month in his career. … Josh Harrison is 4 for 12, including two solo homers, vs. Straily. Two of the Pirates’ best hitters vs. Straily — Jung Ho Kang (.333) and Starling Marte (.400) — are absent. … Nova has never faced the Marlins. In his last outing, Nova gave up one run in seven innings and picked up the win vs. the Yankees. … The Pirates are in a stretch of 17 games without a day off. Fourteen of those games will be on the road.

>>> Sunday: Pirates at Marlins, 1:10 p.m. Marlins Park, Miami. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (1-2, 6.63) Marlins: RHP Tom Koehler (1-1, 5.14)

>>> Monday: Pirates at Reds, 7:10 p.m. Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (1-3, 3.60) Reds: LHP Amir Garrett (2-2, 5.09) Note: The Reds were rained out on Saturday, so everyone in their rotation was pushed back one day.

>>> Tuesday: Pirates at Reds, 7:10 p.m. Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 7.98) Reds: RHP Scott Feldman (1-2, 3.25)

>>> Wednesday: Pirates at Reds, 7:10 p.m. Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (2-0, 2.08) Reds: RHP Rookie Davis (0-1, 11.17)

>>> Thursday: Pirates at Reds, 12:35 p.m. Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (tbd) Reds: RHP Tim Adleman (0-1, 4.70)

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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Game 22: Improvements needed, and quickly

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By Rob Biertempfel/Photo by Christopher Horner

ColeSadMIAMI — After the Pirates wasted Gerrit Cole’s gem and lost, 1-0, to the Cubs on Tuesday, I poked my head into Joe Maddon’s postgame presser. This part jumped out at me: “One of those nights. We always talk about you’ve got to win 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 to win championships. So, we’ll take it.”

Last season, the Pirates were 20-12 in one-run games. This year, they are 5-5. It’s going to get worse, unless the defense improves — dramatically — and the Pirates find a way to score more runs.

>>> In some ways, it’s a little bit amazing the Pirates (9-12) are as close to .500 a they are. Before this week’s roster shuffling brought about by Antonio Bastardo’s conveniently timed quad injury and the hamstring injuries to Adam Frazier and David Freese, the Pirates had essentially been playing with a 23-man roster. Bastardo was so out of sync he could not in pitch when a game was on the line, and Alen Hanson was buried on the bench. What’s more, the club has just two bona fide outfielders and no backup shortstop.

>>>Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports figures that at this point, the Pirates are closer to being sellers than buyers in July. It’s a valid point.

>>> Poor Tyler Glasnow. Earlier this week, when talking about the bullpen, manager Clint Hurdle kept stressing he needed a long reliever available on Wednesday because Glasnow was scheduled to start. Talk about a vote of no confidence, eh?

Turned out, Hurdle was right. Glasnow lasted only 3.1 IP vs. the Cubs and threw 89 pitches. He’s made it through five innings just once in four starts this year, including 1.2 IP vs. the Reds on April 10, 5.0 IP vs. Cubs on April 15, and 4.2 IP vs. the Yankees on April 21.

>>> Through his first four starts with Triple-A Indianapolis, RHP Drew Hutchison is 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP. He’s averaged 3.8 walks and 7.6 strikeouts per nine innings. His scheduled to make his next start on Sunday.

>>> Gerrit Cole’s second annual “Uncork for a Cause” will be held June 11 at Sienna Mercato in the Cultural District. The event will benefit Pirates Charities and The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh and also will serve as a release party for Cole’s 2014 Sonoma Reserve red wine. Click on this link for ticket info

>>> The Pirates broke out their beach gear for their chartered flight to Miami. Hawaiian shirts and shorts were mandatory, but the memo also cautioned “no open-toed shoes” on the plane. Maybe they’re saving the Penguins jersey theme for after the Pens knock off the Capitals in round two of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

https://twitter.com/MeLlamoTrevor/status/857708816443600896

>>> You want links? I’ve got a grand total of … one:

John Jaso muses that perhaps he “have played basketball” to Trib reporter Jerry DiPaola

>>> Purely for entertainment purposes, non-scientific Twitter poll results:

>>> Friday: Pirates at Marlins, 7:10 p.m. Marlins Park, Miami. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: Josh Harrison 5, Jordy Mercer 6, Andrew McCutchen 8, Gregory Polanco 7, Francisco Cervelli 2, Jose Osuna 9, Josh Bell 3, Gift Ngoepe 4, RHP Jameson Taillon (1-0, 2.13) 1

Marlins: JT Realmuto 2, Martin Prado 5, Christian Yelich 8, Giancarlo Stanton 9, Justin Bour 3, Marcell Ozuna 7, Derek Dietrich 4, Adeiny Hechavarria 6, LHP Adam Conley (1-1, 3.00) 1

Gamecast: Ngoepe will make his first MLB start. … Taillon has never faced the Marlins. … Conley has made 44 career appearances, but has faced the Pirates just once before. On June 1, 2016, he held the Pirates to two hits over six scoreless innings in a 3-2 victory. … Conley has allowed one run in three of his past four starts. … The Marlins went 6-1 vs. the Pirates last season. It was their first winning record against them since 2011, when Miami went 6-0.  The Marlins’ .584 winning percentage at home vs. the Pirates is their second-best mark against any NL team. … Marcell Ozuna has 21 RBI, which is tied for second most in the majors. … Marlins outfielders have combined for 18 homers and 51 RBI in 19 games.

FreeseThrowPNC>>> UPDATE 4:50 p.m. – David Freese said his right hamstring discomfort “is still there a little bit” today, but has not yet ruled out being available off the bench for tonight’s game vs. the Marlins. 

Freese hit in in the indoor cage this afternoon. He also planned to take some grounders during batting practice (which has not yet begun as I type this). “I need to see where I’m at after that and we’ll go from there,” Freese said.

Freese said he strained his hamstring during Monday’s game vs. the Cubs. “I missed first on my hit down the line. I was trying to decide where I was going to go, based on (Ben) Zobrist’s throw, so I missed the bag, then planted (my foot), stopped an tried to get back and tweaked it a little bit.”

Freese’s name is on the lineup card posted in the clubhouse. “My name is on there, so to the Marlins, I’m available,” Freese said with a smile. “We’ll know more later.”

>>> Saturday: Pirates at Marlins, 7:10 p.m. Marlins Park, Miami. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: Ivan Nova (2-2, 2.00) Marlins: RHP Dan Straily (1-1, 3.92)

>>> Sunday: Pirates at Marlins, 1:10 p.m. Marlins Park, Miami. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (1-2, 6.63) Marlins: RHP Tom Koehler (1-1, 5.14)

>>> Monday: Pirates at Reds, 7:10 p.m. Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (1-3, 3.60) Reds: RHP Scott Feldman (1-2, 3.25)

>>> Tuesday: Pirates at Reds, 7:10 p.m. Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 7.98) Reds: RHP Rookie Davis (0-1, 11.17)

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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Game 20: As it turned out, adding an arm was the right call

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By Rob Biertempfel/Photo by Christopher Horner

NeverauskasDebutWhen Adam Frazier went on the disabled list on Monday, the Pirates recalled Dovydas Neverauskas from Triple-A Indy. It seemed an odd move, swapping out a utilityman for a reliever — especially considering the gaping hole in right field — but the Pirates figured they might need some bullpen depth with the high-flying Cubs in town.

As it turned out, they did. RHP Chad Kuhl was bounced in the second inning. Trevor Williams (four innings, 69 pitches), Antonio Bastardo (1.1 innings, 39 pitches) and Neverauskas (two innings) picked up the pieces.

“It pretty much played out perfectly,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “Unless you’d like to use (Daniel) Hudson or (Tony) Watson (on Monday) or use your other long man (Wade LeBlanc) when you’ve got Tyler Glasnow coming two days from now. You’re really pushing your bullpen. If you look at the innings pitched, there are some guys in some areas who tonight the night they needed to pitch when we’re losing by 10 runs. So, it made all the sense in the world from our perspective to bring in the extra reliever.”

>>> Anthony Rizzo stole second base in the first inning last night. He got a huge jump off the bag and Kuhl never flinched or looked over. Hurdle was asked if someone should have made Kuhl aware that Rizzo was in motion.

“Fourteen different people yelled from the dugout and the infield,” Hurdle said. “It’s not the first time it’s happened to us. It’s something we’re well aware of, that we need to improve upon off the mound. We haven’t figured that one out yet.”

PalmTree>>> The Pirates will have their first themed road trip this weekend when they travel to Miami to play the Marlins. Instead of coats and ties, the dress code on the charter plane is relaxed: Hawaiian shirts and shorts.

>>> UPDATE 4:02 p.m. – LH reliever Antonio Bastardo was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left quad. RH reliever Johnny Barbato was called up from Triple-A Indy.

Bastardo said he sustained the injury during the seventh inning of last night’s game, but he didn’t let management know about it until later last night: “I didn’t want to leave the game because of that. I tried to stay in there because the team needed me to.” Bastardo will be shut down for a week, then will begin his rehab at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla. “I’m going to take my time to get my body better, get healthy, and work on my stuff and my throwing program,” he said. “I feel bad that it happened to me.”

 Barbato was acquired on April 17  from the Yankees for a PTBNL or (more likely) cash.  He pitched in two games (three innings) with Indy, and gave up one hit and struck out three. The day the Pirates got Barbato, Hurdle essentially said he knew nothing about him. This afternoon, Hurdle knew a little bit more: “Three-pitch guy, aggressive in the zone. Can give us multiple innings.” Take a peek over Jerry DiPaola’s shoulder (and his Android phone) and listen in as Barbato is grilled in his welcome-to-the-club presser:

>>> UPDATE 4:45 p.m.:  – MLB made a scoring change to the April 13 game v. the Red Sox.  In the bottom of the eight, Andrew Benintendi reached on what was originally ruled a fielder’s choice with an assist to Starling Marte and error on Phil Gosselin.  This has been changed to a single to center.  As a result, all the runs in the inning are earned. So, the Benintendi and the Red Sox gain a hit and Hudson picks up two earned runs.

Manfred>>> UPDATE 7:05 p.m. – MLB commissioner Rob Manfred spoke to reporters before tonight’s game. A few quick hits:

— On MLB’s PED program: “I think there is widespread recognition … that Major League Baseball has the best drug program. And by that I mean testing, as well as investigative capacity; the number of tests we do, given the number of athletes we employ, is the best anywhere — professional or amateur sports. I do not see it as a program failure that we have positive tests. I doubt that we will ever get to the point where any sport can say with 100 percent certainty that no athlete is using a performance-enhancing drug. Occasionally, athletes are going to make a bad decision and we have a program in place that is the best at catching them if they make that decision.”

On the potential sale of the Marlins: “I have a policy about not commenting about sale processes, but given what’s been out there today, I think it’s important to clarify a couple of things. I am absolutely certain, know for a fact, that there are multiple groups interested in acquiring the Marlins. One of those groups is the (Jeb) Bush-(Derek) Jeter group. I’m going to go beyond that. There are multiple groups that have made bids for the club. When there is a resolution as to which bid is going to be accepted, we’ll announce that pubicly. Until that happens, it’s just not appropriate for me to comment further.

Did Starling Marte appeal his positive PED test?  “No, he did not.”

Manfred’s role in the Jung Ho Kang saga:  “We’re monitoring the situation. We have not been actively involved other than giving advice. That’s what we ordinarily do, with respect to immigration matters. That’s generally handled by the club. They’re in a position to do that more effectively than we are.”

>>> You want links? I’ve got links:

Cubs 14, Pirates 3: No mercy.

Notebook: In which Cutch recalls The Ryan Doumit Experiment and other misadventures in right field.

Frazier goes down, Neverauskas comes up,

>>> Tuesday: Cubs at Pirates, 7:05 p.m, PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Cubs (11-8): Kyle Schwarber 7, Kris Bryant 5, Anthony Rizzo 3, BenZobrist 4, Addison Russell 6, Jason Heyward 9, Willson Contreras 2, RHP Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 6.19) 1, Albert Almora 8.

Pirates (8-11): Josh Harrison 5, Josh Bell 3, Andrew McCutchen 8, Gregory Polanco 7, Francisco Cervelli 2, John Jaso 9, Jordy Mercer 6, Alen Hanson 4, RHP Gerrit Cole (1-2, 4.70)

Gamecast: In his last outing on Wednesday, Hendricks gave up four runs, including two homers, in five innings vs. the Brewers. The Cubs won the game on Addison Russell’s two-out, walkoff homer. … Coming into this series, the Cubs had scored 15 runs in the ninth inning. It was the most of any National League club and third-most in baseball behind the Indians (21) and the Angels (18). The Cubs’ .302 average (19 for 63) in the ninth inning is second in the NL behind the Marlins (.323). … Hendricks is battling mechanical problems. His fastball velocity is 86.2 mph, down 3.5 mph from last year, and there’s not enough separation from his 79.6 mph changeup.

>>> Wednesday: Cubs at Pirates, 7:05 p.m, PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (0-0, 2.66) Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 7.94 ERA)

>>> Thursday: Off

>>> Friday: Pirates at Marlins, 7:10 p.m. Marlins Park, Miami. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (1-0, 2.13) Marlins: RHP Dan Straily (1-1, 3.92)

>>> Saturday: Pirates at Marlins, 7:10 p.m. Marlins Park, Miami. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: Marlins:

>>> Sunday: Pirates at Marlins, 1:10 p.m. Marlins Park, Miami. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (1-2, 6.63) Marlins: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (2-0, 3.94, not including tonight’s game)

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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Game 19: Did Nova make Yankees wonder ‘what if?’

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By Rob Biertempfel/Photo by Christopher Horner

NovaVsYankeesDid the Yankees make a mistake? Should they have held on to RHP Ivan Nova last year instead of trading him to the Pirates? “Look at (Nova’s) numbers at our place,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before Sunday’s game. “He had some good years, he had some tough years. We had to make a decision. Last year at that time we thought it was the right move to make and we made the move and we don’t look back.”

Nova’s digits in 67 outings at Yankee Stadium: 27-19, 4.35 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 2.20 SO/BB

Nova’s digits in 15 outings with the Pirates (all venues): 7-4, 2.75 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 16.75 SO/BB.

What’s made Nova so good with the Pirates? Catcher Chris Stewart knows. “HIs ball moves,” Stewart said. “He’s got the good sinker. He’s throwing the changeup a lot more this year and keeping guys off balance. And he has a devastating curveball at times. Hitters never get comfortable and they can’t sit on one pitch in one spot. He’s comfortable throwing strikes and knows he can get a lot of outs quickly doing that.”

On Sunday, Nova had success against the Yankees by elevating the ball at times. It can be a risky move for some pitchers, but Nova’s ability to keep the ball low in the zone makes him tougher to hit when he tries the upper part of the zone. “When you throw the four-seam up a little higher than they’re expecting, they’re going to swing through it most of the time,” Stewart said. “The main thing is, it changes the eye level. He’s able to throw it not just in the strike zone, but we’re able to expand on it, too. I think that’s big that he’s able to go up and out of the zone and get swings.”

FrazierST2017SS>>> UPDATE 6:52 p.m. – Utilityman Adam Frazier was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring. Right-handed reliever Dovydas Neverauskas was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis.

Neverauskas, 24, was born in Vilnius, Lithuania and signed in 2009 as a non-drafted free agent. When he pitches for the Pirates, Neverauskas will becomes the second Lithuanian to appear in the majors. Outfielder Joe Zapustas, who was born in Lithuania and grew up in Boston, played for the Philadelphia A’s in 1933.

This is the first time since 1991 that the Pirates were 19  games into the season before making their first DL move. 

>>> You want links? I’ve got links:

Pirates 2, Yankees 1: The millions (well, 28,000 or so) who were there can tell their grandkids they say Stewie leg out a triple.

Notebook: In which Bastardo is puzzled, Huntington seems set to stand pat instead of adding an outfielder, and Marte makes plans to work out

>>> Monday: Cubs at Pirates, 7:05 p.m, PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Cubs (10-8): Kyle Schwarber 7, Kris Bryant 5, Anthony Rizzo 3, Ben Zobrist 9, Addison Russell 6, Jason Heyward 8, Miguel Montero 2, LHP Brett Anderson (1-0, 4.40), Javy Baez 4

Pirates (8-10): Jordy Mercer 6, Josh Harrison 4, Andrew McCutchen 8, Gregory Polanco 7, David Freese 5, Francisco Cervelli 2, Jose Osuna 9, Josh Bell 3, RHP Chad Kuhl (1-1, 2.60)

Gamecast: Kuhl is 0-2 with a 10.45 ERA in three starts (all last season) vs. the Cubs. … Kuhl is coming off a pair of quality starts, with nine Ks and one walk in 12.1 innings. … Over the past nine games, the Pirates’ leadoff batters have gone a combined .278 (10 for 36) with a homer, four RBI and seven runs scored. … The Pirates are 4-0-1 in their past five games vs. the Cubs, including a three-game sweep a week ago at Wrigley Field. The bad news? They went 3-6-1 vs. the Cubs last year at PNC Park. … Rizzo has homered in three straight games. … Heyward hit a solo homer on Friday and a three-run shot on Saturday vs. the Reds. It was the first time Heyward went deep in back-to-back games since joining the Cubs. He’s hit safely in 15 of 17 games this season, including each of his past 10 starts.

>>> The Cubs have scored 15 runs in the ninth inning this season. I’s the most of any National League club and third-most in baseball behind the Indians  (21) and the Angels (18). The Cubs’ .302 average (19 for 63) in the ninth inning is second in the NL behind the Marlins (.323), and their four home runs in the ninth are tied for third-most in baseball. The Blue Jays lead with with six homers in the ninth.

>>> Tuesday: Cubs at Pirates, 7:05 p.m, PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 6.19) Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (1-2, 4.70)

>>> Wednesday: Cubs at Pirates, 7:05 p.m, PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (0-0, 2.66) Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 7.94 ERA)

>>> Thursday: Off

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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