All posts by Chris Adamski

Chris Adamski joined Trib Total Media's Steelers coverage team in 2014 after spending two seasons on the Penn State football beat for the Trib. Before that, he had worked in Pittsburgh sports media for more than a decade, extensively covering the Steelers, Pirates, Penguins, Pitt, Duquesne and the WPIAL.

Game 69: Out of sight, out of mind? Hurdle doesn’t risk Rivero temptation

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By Chris Adamski

NORTH SHORE – Clint Hurdle might have been was kidding. But even if he wasn’t, could you blame him?

 

Speaking 2 ½ hours before Sunday’s series finale against the Chicago Cubs, Hurdle said that Felipe Rivero won’t be at PNC Park on Sunday because he was sent to Milwaukee a day early.rivero

 

“To make sure I don’t pitch him,” Hurdle said in a deadpan manner that left the assembled media chucking. “Just to play it safe. You look down at that guy, and you’re thinking, ‘Ehhhhhhh?’”

 

Rivero pitched Friday and Saturday, going 1 2/3 innings the latter evening – 10 batters and 37 pitches in all.

 

Twice early in the season, Rivero worked three consecutive days. But one of those stretches included a total of 34 pitches; another a total of two innings pitched.

 

Compounding the matter for Hurdle and the Pirates on Sunday is that the availability of Juan Nicasio was in question. Nicasio was shut down Saturday after he experienced “fatigue” in his fantastical blown save Friday night.

 

Hurdle said Nicasio’s status wasn’t to be determined until pitching coach Ray Searage had a chance to work with him in a flat-ground throwing session Sunday.

 

 

Stew is back:

I can’t speak for my colleagues, but twice on this Father’s Day morning in the Pirates clubhouse I was left chuckling at something that I assumed was a joke but was, perhaps, true. In the case of whatStew Chris Stewart said, it absolutely was.

 

Stewart (left hamstring strain) was activated off the disabled list Sunday morning. His stint on the DL was entirely due to trouble running the bases (he was able to catch and throw and hit), and it began as the result of the 35-year-old legging out a triple.

 

“We’ve shut down the triples. Eliminated that one,” Stewart said.

 

“I’m aware that there’s going to be a big stop sign out there at second base, so I need to stay there from now on.”

 

 

I laughed. But then a few minutes later, in Hurdle’s office…

 

“He’s actually the first player that… I have ever had that triples are off the board,” the manager said. “We felt we had fun with him: if he chose to go play any games or do any of that that he’d have to hit a triple before he could come back. We thought that would absolutely lock him up.

 

“But he took (triples) off the docket.”

 

While Jacob Stallings went optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis, the move still leaves three catchers on the 25-man roster (starter Francisco Cervelli and rookie Elias Diaz).

 

Put simply, Diaz (reached base in nine of his 10 starts; .378 average) is too hot to send down. So for now, the Pirates have three catchers.

 

“It won’t be for a long period of time,” Hurdle said, “unless something drastic happens and something changes.

 

 

>>> You want links? I’ve got links:

“There was a lot of emotion going into that game. I feel like it was one of the best games I’ve played here in Pittsburgh.” 

Ivan Nova pulls through as Pirates down Cubs

 

“It’s very frustrating. I know that, hitting in the middle of the lineup, I need to produce.”

Notebook: Clint Hurdle looks for ways to shake Gregory Polanco’s slump

 

 

>>> Sunday’s game: Cubs at Pirates, 1:35 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Cubs: Anthony Rizzo 3, Ian Happ 4, Wilson Contreras 2, Jason Heyward 9, Albert Amora Jr 8, Tommy La Stella 5, Javier Baez 6, John Lackey RHP (4-7, 5.26), Jon Jay 7

Pirates: Adam Frazier 7, Josh Harrison 4, Gregory Polanco 9, David Freese 5, Josh Bell 3, Andrew McCutchen 8, Elas Diaz 2, Jordy Mercer 6, RHP Jameson Taillon (3-1, 2.90)

Gamecast:  In his last start, Lackey gave up four runs, all via homers, and took the loss vs. the Mets. Over his past five starts, he is 0-4 with a 6.75 ERA. … Lackey is allowing 2.27 home runs per nine innings, which is more than double his career rate (0.98 HR/9). He has served up 19 homers in 75 13 IP. Last year, Lackey allowed 23 home runs in 188 13 IP. … It’s been 364 days since Cubs C Willson Contreras got his first at-bat in the majors and smacked a first-pitch homer off Pirates reliever A.J. Schugel at Wrigley Field. … Last Tuesday and Wednesday, Anthony Rizzo became the first Cub since at least 1920 to hit a leadoff homer in each of his first two games batting leadoff. … Taillon is 2-1 with a 2.65 ERA in three career starts vs. the Cubs.

 

>>> Monday’s game:  Pirates at Brewers, 7:40 p.m., Miller Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Gerrit Cole (4-6, 4.54 ERA)

Brewers: Lineup TBA. RHP Matt Garza (3-2, 4.17 ERA)

 

>>> Tuesday’s game: Pirates at Brewers, 7:40 p.m., Miller Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Chad Kuhl (1-6, 5.61 ERA)

Brewers: Lineup TBA. RHP Zach Davies (7-3, 4.91 ERA)

 

>>> Wednesday’s game: Pirates at Brewers, 7:40 p.m., Miller Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Trevor Williams (3-3, 5.16 ERA)

Brewers: Lineup TBA. RHP Junior Guerra (1-1, 2.84 ERA)

 

>>> Thursday’s game: Pirates at Brewers, 2:10 p.m., Miller Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Ivan Nova (7-4, 2.91 ERA)

Brewers: Lineup TBA. RHP Chase Anderson (5-2, 2.92 ERA)

 

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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Game 51: Some lineup continuity; Taillon back in game action

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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.

“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.”

 

Taillon impresses:

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 starttaillon_480x380_9ikq1yhx_zzldtb4z 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.”

 

 

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.”

 

 

>>> You want links? I’ve got links:

“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.”

Two key hits from Jaso lead Pirates to 10-inning win over Mets

 

Pirates notebook: Taillon to pitch for Altoona

 

 

>>>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 13 IP). Last year, Harvey walked 25 in 92 23 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 cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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Game 49: Polanco returns… McCutchen gets bumped down

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BY Chris Adamski

Polanco

NORTH SHORE – While the biggest news of the day is that Andrew McCutchen has been bumped down the batting order, there’s also the non-trivial matter of the team’s cleanup hitter returning to the lineup.

 

Polanco hadn’t played since May 14 because of a left hamstring strain. Though he was activated off the 10-day disabled list Thursday, he did not play that day in Atlanta. Friday, he was back in the customary No. 4 spot in the order that he’s filled during each of his prior 33 starts this season:

 

“I’m very excited to be back in the lineup, go to battle with my boys and supporting them and giving my everything and my 100 percent every time,” Polanco said before Friday’s game. “I’m happy to be back in Pittsburgh. I enjoy the fans, I enjoy home. Excited to play today.”

Manager Clint Hurdle said Polanco has checked off all the proverbial boxes in terms of his rehab; Hurdle was most heartened by Polanco running the bases without issue earlier this week.

 

Though Polanco is hitting .252/.336/.370 with only one home run and nine RBIs on the season, he was hitting .333/.389/.545 with five extra-base hits in the 10 games before leaving the May 14 game at Arizona early.

 

>>> You want links? I’ve got links:

“I wasn’t opposed to it at all. I was like, ‘Alright, let’s go, man. I’m ready. Whatever we’ve got to do, let’s do it.’”

McCutchen drops to No. 6 in Pirates lineup Friday vs. Mets

 

“Our plan always is to make the other guys swing. That’s why he’s so successful right now, because he throws strikes.”

Pirates top Braves behind strong start from Nova

 

“When you have a couple of guys who get on base, your opportunities to score are enhanced.”

Pirates notebook: Top of batting order packing 1-2 punch

 

 

>>> Friday’s game: Mets at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: None. Radio: 93.7 FM

Mets: Michael Conforto 7, Jose Reyes 5, Jay Bruce 9, Neil Walker 4, Lucas Duda 3, Astrubal Cabrera 6, Rene Rivera 2, RHP Jacob deGrom (3-1, 3.56)

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 Chad Kuhl (1-4, 5.85)

Gamecast: Kuhl never has faced the Mets. In his last start Sunday vs. the Phillies, Kuhl tossed five one-hit, no-run innings but wound up with a no-decision. … In February, the Mets decided to put Wheeler — who made a two-year rehab from Tommy John surgery — on a 125-inning limit this season. Through his first eight starts, he has racked up 43 13 IP. With their rotation already hit by injuries, the Mets might eventually decide to extend Wheeler’s limit. … On Tuesday, the Mets demoted righty reliever Hansel Robles to Triple-A and called up LHP Josh Smoker. At midweek, the Mets’ bullpen ranked 14th in the NL with a 5.01 ERA and had seven blown saves, which was tied for third-most in the league.

 

>>> Saturday’s game: Mets at Pirates, 7:15 p.m., PNC Park. TV: FOX. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Mets: Lineup TBA. RHP Zack Wheeler (3-2, 3.74)

Pirates: Lineup TBA RHP Gerrit Cole (2-5, 3.36)

 

>>> Sunday’s game: Mets at Pirates, 8:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: ESPN. Radio: 93.7 FM

Mets: Lineup TBA. RHP Matt Harvey (3-3, 5.36)

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Tyler Glasnow (2-3, 6.69)

 

>>> Monday’s game: Diamondbacks at Pirates, 4:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Diamondbacks: Lineup, probable pitcher TBA

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Ivan Nova (5-3, 2.83)

 

>>> Tuesday’s game: Diamondbacks at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Diamondbacks: Lineup, probable pitcher TBA

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, probable pitcher TBA

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Chad Kuhl

 

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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Game 44: Polanco “feels a lot better” after “a really good day” Saturday

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By Chris Adamski

NORTH SHORE – Gregory Polanco is eligible to come off the disabled list Thursday. Based on how the rehab on his left hamstring sprain is going, the outfielder appears well on track to do just that.

 

“It’s pretty good right now,” Polanco said of the hamstring that forced him out of the game a week ago Sunday. “Getting a lot better, better and better ever`yday.polanco

 

“Even swinging, (Saturday) I didn’t feel any pain.”

 

Saturday, Polanco played catch and hit balls off a tee. Manager Clint Hurdle called it “a really good day” for his erstwhile cleanup hitter. Polanco was to repeat those drills Sunday – if all goes well, he will take part in live batting practice Monday.

 

“Hopefully I’ll be back (activated) pretty soon,” Polanco said.

 

Though Polanco is hitting .252/.336/.370 with only one home run and nine RBIs on the season, he was hitting .333/.389/.545 with five extra-base hits in the 10 games before leaving the May 14 game at Arizona early.

 

>>> You want links? I’ve got links:

“We love when he pitches.”

Nova, Pirates pull past Phillies

 

“This is where I plan on being. I can’t control it, though.”

Pirates notebook: McCutchen expects to stay put at trade deadline

 

 

>>> Sunday’s game: Braves at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: None. Radio: 93.7 FM

Phillies: Cesar Hernandez 4, Freddy Galvis 6, Aaron Altherr 7, Michael Saunders 9, Odubel Herrera 8, Maikel Franco 5, Brock Stassi 3, Andrew Knapp 2, RHP Aaron Nola (2-0, 5.40)

Pirates: Adam Frazier 7, Josh Harrison 4, Andrew McCutchen 8, Josh Bell 3, David Freese 5, John Jaso 9, Chris Stewart 2, Gift Ngoepe 6, RHP Chad Kuhl (1-4, 6.69)

Gamecast: Kuhl has dropped four straight decisions since beating the Braves on April 8 at PNC Park. He is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in one career start vs. the Phillies. … Pat Neshek this year became the first Phillies reliever to open a season with 14 consecutive scoreless outings since Cesar Jimenez in 2014. Since 1913, only four Phillies relievers have put up more zeroes at the start of the season. … Ex-Pirate Joely Rodriguez is in the Phils bullpen. He gave up seven runs Thursday vs. the Rangers, the most runs allowed by a Philadelphia reliever since Dustin McGowan yielded seven vs. the Orioles on June 6, 2015. It also is tied for the most runs allowed in a game by any MLB reliever this season.

 

>>> Monday’s game: Pirates at Braves, 7:35 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (2-4, 2.84)

Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (2-4, 4.10)

 

>>> Tuesday’s game: Pirates at Braves, 7:35 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (2-3, 7.34)

Braves: RHP R.A. Dickey (3-3, 4.13)

 

>>> Wednesday’s game: Pirates at Braves, 7:35 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (2-3, 6.04)

Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (3-4, 5.47)

 

>>> Thursday’s game: Pirates at Braves, 12:10 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (4-3, 2.63)

Braves: RHP Bartolo Colon (2-4, 6.28)

 

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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Game 28: Josh Harrison, an Energizer Bunny dipped in Tabasco sauce? Something like that…

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By Chris Adamski

 

CINCINNATI –

9:44 a.m. UPDATE: It’s raining at Great American Ball Park.

 

Furthermore, this forecast is what I’d term as less-than-encouraging:

IMG_2282

 

The weather potentially might cancel the game — but it takes more than that to cancel David Freese’s scheduled rehab work with head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk:

 

Regularly-scheduled blog post:

A week after referring to the phenomenon of Josh Harrison, Leadoff Hitter, as “Tabasco,” Clint Hurdle this time elected to use a different term.

 

“Energizer.”

 

J-Hay
Be it by home runs or hit by pitch, Josh Harrison has found ways to spark the Pirates at the top of the lineup. (AP Photo)

Heading into the final of four games at the Reds on Thursday, Harrison had started all three games of this series so far at third base – and from the leadoff spot. He therefore become the player who’s most been at the No. 1 spot in the batting order for the Pirates this season (10 of the Pirates’ first 27 games, surpassing Jordy Mercer’s nine).

 

With a career .319 on-base percentage, Harrison is far from an ideal leadoff hitter. Hurdle is willing to accept that in light of what Harrison can bring.

 

“You’ve gotta know what you’re going to get, and you can’t have it both ways,” Hurdle said. “You can’t ask this man to go up and give you six- or seven-pitch at-bats to leadoff a game. That’s not who he is. I’ve used him as an energizer and he’s been able to do that.”

 

Harrison’s career numbers out of the leadoff spot (.807 OPS, .310 average, .345 on-base percentage, .462 slugging percentage, 18 home runs) dwarf his career numbers on whole (.734 OPS, .285 average, .415 slugging overall with 15 home runs out of every other spot). He had three home runs the first two games of the series.

 

Hurdle also mentioned Harrison’s splits depending on count – on whole, he is a better hitter when he swings earlier in the count (his .955 OPS when a ball is put in play on the first pitch is better than in any other situation Harrison faces except if he has three balls).

 

Harrison has four extra-base hits in the series and has reached base six times in the three games.

 

 

>>> Anything but boring

The Pirates haven’t been particularly good this season (after all, they do currently reside in last place) — although they haven’t been all that bad, either. The story has yet to have been completely told on the 2017 Pirates.

 

But one thing they are, for sure, through 27 games (one-sixth of the way into the season)? Interesting.

 

Hurdle and shortstop Jordy Mercer this week both have remarked about this. And if you sit back to think about it, it’s been quite the first month of play (April 3-May 3).

 

The Pirates recalled the first major-leaguer born and raised in Lithuania — and then immediately trumped that by calling up the first MLB player from the entire continent of Africa.

 

They began the season with five consecutive sweeps (alternating losses and wins). They’ve have somehow won four of the five starts by a pitcher whose season ERA climbed north of 9.00 during his most recent outing, and they’ve produced the NL pitcher of the month.

 

The Pirates became the fourth visiting team EVER to play on consecutive days at iconic Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, and they’ve also this far hosted the Yankees during the regular season for just the second time ever.

 

Throw in the fact that two of their best players are AWOL for non-injury reasons (Starling Marte via 80-game suspension and Jung Ho Kang because of ongoing visa issues related to his three DUIs), and there’s certainly no shortage of things to talk about.

 

Stay tuned for the final five-sixths of the season.

 

 

>>> You want links? I’ve got links:

“The stuff was great tonight; that’s why it’s tough, you only get a handful of nights here where you feel that good.”

Taillon struggles in loss to Reds


“I’m relaxed. I’m being confident to go out there and have fun in the game.”

Pirates notebook: Nova ‘excited’ to be named National League pitcher of month

 

 

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

Pirates: Josh Harrison 5, John Jaso 9, Andrew McCutchen 8, Gregory Polanco 7, Josh Bell 3, Francisco Cervelli 2, Alen Hanson 4, Gift Ngoepe 6, RHP Ivan Nova (3-2, 1.50)

Reds: Billy Hamilton 8, Jose Peraza 6, Joey Votto 3, Adam Duvall 7, Eugenio Suarez 5, Scott Schebler 9, Arismendy Alcantara 4, Tucker Barnhart 2, RHP Tim Adelman (0-1, 4.70)

 

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

Brewers: Lineup TBA. RHP Jimmy Nelson (1-2, 5.34)

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Chad Kuhl (1-2, 6.26)

 

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

Brewers: Lineup TBA. RHP Matt Garza (1-0, 3.88)

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Gerrit Cole (1-3, 3.50)

 

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

Brewers: Lineup TBA. RHP Zach Davies (2-2, 6.07)

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Tyler Glasnow (1-1, 6.97)

 

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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Game 27: Nova the NL’s pitcher of the month

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By Chris Adamski

CINCINNATI – In his second full calendar month with the Pirates and first since signing a three-year contract with the club, Ivan Nova has been honored as the National League’s best pitcher.

 

Nova
Ivan Nova was the most efficient pitcher in the NL in April. He’s also now been recognized as the best. (Christopher Horner/Tribune-Review photo)

Major League Baseball named Nova its pitcher of the month for April after Nova allowed just six runs on 26 hits and one walk in 36 innings over five starts in April. Nova led qualified NL pitchers in walks/hits per inning pitched (0.75) and was second in wins above replacement (1.7) and ERA (1.50) to St. Louis’ Mike Leake.

 

Nova has two of the five complete games and one of the two shutouts pitched so far this season in the National League – the latter coming in his most recent outing Saturday in Miami. He leads the NL in pitches per inning (12.1), pitches per plate appearance (3.27) and strikeout-to-walk ratio.

 

Nova signed a $26 million contract in December after being acquired Aug. 1 from the New York Yankees for two minor leaguers.

 

The only other time Nova was given the monthly honor was in August 2013 when he was with the Yankees. He won the AL award after going 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA in six starts then.

 

Gerrit Cole was the most recent Pirate to be named N.L. pitcher of the month (April 2015).

 

Nova’s next scheduled start is in the series finale against the Reds on Thursday. He’s scheduled to be available to the media about two hours prior to Wednesday’s 7:10 first pitch.

 

 

>>> Bye, bye Bormann

Three days after his unexpected and frenetic major-league debut and two days after being optioned off the 25-man roster,  John Bormann is now officially no longer a major-league roster of any sort. The Pirates on Wednesday, in an expected formality, dropped Bormann from their 40-man roster and outrighted him to Class A Bradenton.

 

>>> You want links? I’ve got links:

“It was just buckle-down mode, and I did it.”

Glasnow steadies himself; Pirates bats bust out in win


“I have been through worse. And I’ll get through this and be better for it.”

Pirates notebook: Hudson has experience working through rough patches

 

 

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

Pirates: Lineup TBA RHP Jameson Taillon (2-0, 2.08)

Reds: Lineup TBA. RHP Rookie Davis (0-1, 11.17)

Gamecast: Taillon has allowed two or fewer earned runs in four of his five starts, permitting a total of three in those four outings. … In facing the Reds at PNC Park on April 11, Taillon was charged with two runs on four hits and a walk in six innings. … He faced Davis that day; it was by far Davis’ best start of the three he’d made in his young career: one run on two hits and four walks with three strikeouts in four innings. But after taking a Taillon line drive off his forearm, Davis was placed on the 10-day disabled list. … Davis was tagged for eight runs (seven earned) on 11 hits in 2 2/3 innings in his lone start since then, April 26 at Milwaukee.

 

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

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Ivan Nova (3-2, 1.50)

Reds: Lineup TBA. RHP Tim Adelman (0-1, 4.70)

 

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

Brewers: Lineup TBA. RHP Jimmy Nelson (1-2, 5.34)

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Chad Kuhl (1-2, 6.26)

 

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

Brewers: Lineup TBA. RHP Matt Garza (1-0, 3.88)

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Gerrit Cole (1-3, 3.50)

 

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

Brewers: Lineup TBA. RHP Zach Davies (2-2, 6.07)

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Tyler Glasnow (1-1, 6.97)

 

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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Game 26: Jaso at cleanup, Osuna in left, Diaz and Hanson starting

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By Chris Adamski

CINCINNATI – Five rookies, two players who were in Triple-A a few weeks ago, one guy making his first MLB start at a particular position and another who’s in the cleanup spot despite a .140 season average.

 

A spring training “B” game? No, it’s the Pirates’ lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Reds:

 

 

“Seventeen straight games,” manager Clint Hurdle said, simplifying the explanation. “Looking for opportunities to get guys off their feet. We’ll use (usual cleanup hitter Gregory) Polanco off the bench today. If he needs to play today, he will, just not start.

 

“We’re not hitting on the field tomorrow, so that’s more time off. It was an opportunity to take care of 48 hours. We’re going to find time for everybody. This isn’t a park (Polanco) hit really well in in his career, either, if you pull back some layers and look at numbers (.202 average, 27 strikeouts in 89 at bats). … The matchup today with (Reds starter Scott) Feldman, get (Jose) Osuna out in left, play (John) Jaso in right, get (Josh) Bell a couple extra left-handed at-bats with Polanco being out. It’s just a good time to give him a rest and to get him plugged back in tomorrow.”

 

Twitter ire mostly has centered around Jaso (.140/.233/.260 in 50 plate appearances this season) batting fourth. Actually, though, after today – assuming he comes up at least twice – it will be the fourth-most common spot he’s hit out of in his career. Jaso is also making his sixth start of the season in right field.

 

Osuna, a minor-league first baseman, is making his first MLB start in left (he’s made six starts in right). Alen Hanson (.182/.273/.182) is  making his fifth start at second baseman and Elias Diaz is making his first start of the season and second MLB start overall at catcher. He was recalled Monday.

 

The Pirates’ bench Tuesday? Polanco, Gift Ngoepe and Phil Gosselin – unless they want to burn their backup catcher, Chris Stewart. Francisco Cervelli remains out (Hurdle had no update on him pregame).

 
>>> No Frazier tomorrow:

Frazier
Adam Frazier won’t be back until at least the beginning of next week. (Christopher Horner/Tribune-Review photo)

And if anyone believed reinforcements were coming quickly… think again – at least when it comes to Adam Frazier. Frazier (left hamstring strain) said Tuesday that he will NOT come off the disabled list when first eligible Wednesday.

 

Frazier said he did plenty of on-field work Tuesday, and he added that he has not had any setbacks.

 

“Just not ready yet,” Frazier said.

 

“He had a pretty good workload today,” Hurdle said. “We’ll wait and see how he feels tomorrow and see what’s next. We anticipate him going on a rehab back end of the week.”

 

 

 

>>> You want links? I’ve got links:

“When you don’t execute, you put yourself at the mercy of the game.”

More miscues at second base contribute to Pirates’ loss to Reds


“In the offseason I’ll take a week off. Not now.”

Pirates notebook: Diaz recalled to boost depth at catcher


 

>>> Tuesday’s game: Pirates at Reds, 7:10 p.m., Great American Ball Park. TV: None. Radio: 93.7 FM

Pirates (11-14): Josh Harrison 5, Josh Bell 3, Andrew McCutchen 8, John Jaso 9, Jose Osuna 7, Elias Diaz 2, Alen Hanson 4, Jordy Mercer 6, RHP Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 7.98)

Reds (12-13): Billy Hamilton 8, Zack Cozart 6, Joey Votto 3, Adam Duvall 7, Eugenio Suarez 5, Scott Schebler 9, Jose Peraza 4, Devin Mesoraco 2, RHP Scott Feldman (1-2, 3.25)

Gamecast: The Pirates have won three of Glasnow’s four starts – the best record they have with any starting pitcher – despite the fact he’s averaging just 3 2/3 innings per start. … Glasnow’s lone career start against the Reds (April 10) lasted only 1 2/3 innings and featured five earned runs, four hits and five walks. … Feldman has not faced the Pirates since 2010. … The Reds have lost four of his first five starts even though he’s allowed two or fewer runs in three of the five outings.

 

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

Pirates: Lineup TBA RHP Jameson Taillon (2-0, 2.08)

Reds: Lineup TBA. RHP Rookie Davis (0-1, 11.17)

 

>>> Thursday’s game: Brewers at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., Great American Ball Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Ivan Nova (3-2, 1.50)

Reds: Lineup TBA. RHP Tim Adelman (0-1, 4.70)

 

>>> Friday’s game: Reds at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Brewers: Lineup TBA. RHP Matt Garza (1-0, 3.88)

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Chad Kuhl (1-2, 6.26)

 

>>> Saturday’s game: Reds at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Brewers: Lineup TBA. RHP Zach Davies (2-2, 6.07)

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Gerrit Cole (1-3, 3.50)

 

>>> Sunday’s game: Reds at Pirates, 1:35 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Brewers: Lineup TBA. RHP Wily Peralta (4-1, 5.19 PLUS TUESDAY)

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 7.98 PLUS TUESDAY)

 

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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Game 25: Cervelli on DL- “Not gonna happen”; Elias Diaz joins the club; Kuhl is cool

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By Chris Adamski

CINCINNATI – Francisco Cervelli was asked not once but twice if he believed it would be wise to shut down for a week or two to address the nagging right foot injury that’s kept him out of the lineup the past two days.

 

Both times, Cervelli has quick – and emphatic – answers.

 

“No. In the offseason I take a week off. Not now.”

 

So, no trip to the 10-day disabled list?

 

“No. Not gonna happen. It’s not gonna happen.”

 

OK, then.

 

But that doesn’t mean Cervelli is able to play currently. For the second day in a row, backup Chris Stewart is starting at catcher – and for the second day in a row, the Pirates summoned a catcher from the minor leagues to serve as the backup.

 

Monday, it was a more conventional and expected alternative – Elias Diaz was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis.

 

Sunday, Single-A backup John Bormann was brought up on an emergency basis. For Diaz, this is his third stint in the majors (he’s appeared in three games – two in September 2015 and one last season). But don’t think he wasn’t just as excited as Bormann.

 

“Definitely, because here is where I want to be all the time,” Diaz said. “So it’s just as exciting for me.”

 

 

 

>>> Kuhl is cool after taking line drive off his knee

A day after a line drive struck him in Miami, starter Chad Kuhl could still see the indentation of a ball and its stitches in his right knee.

 

“You can see where it hit,” Kuhl said Monday afternoon.

 

But Kuhl doesn’t expect to be limited it all by the swelling or lingering pain – and he certainly doesn’t expect to miss his next scheduled start Friday in Pittsburgh.

 

“I think I’m gonna be fine,” Kuhl said. “Just bruised. I’ll go out there and play catch and see how it feels.”

 

 

>>> Freese, Frazier play catch

As manager Clint Hurdle asserted, this isn’t too much of an update on the pair of Pirates infielders who are currently on the disabled list with hamstring strains. But I did take a photo of it, so here it is:

 

 

“They were going to hit in the cage a little bit and see if they were good enough to hit on the field,” Hurdle said three hours before Monday’s first pitch and an hour after Fraizer and Freese were playing long toss as head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk watched. “Are they getting better? Yeah they’re getting better; I just don’t know where that stands or what that means right now.”

 

Frazier is eligible to come off the DL on Wednesday; Freese on Friday.

 

 

>>> You want links? I’ve got links:

“Pretty intense pain. I wanted to stay out there, but they took me out.”

Kuhl exits early in Pirates’ loss to Marlins

 

“It’s once in a lifetime, for sure. Something I’ll never forget.”

Pirates notebook: Class A catcher Bormann called up

 

 

>>> Monday’s game: Braves at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: None. Radio: 93.7 FM

Pirates (11-13): Josh Harrison 5, Jordy Mercer 6, Andrew McCutchen 8, Gregory Polanco 7, Jose Osuna 9, Josh Bell 3, Phil Gosselin 4, Chris Stewart 2, RHP Gerrit Cole (1-3, 3.60).

Reds (11-13): Billy Hamilton 8, Zack Cozart 6, Joey Votto 3, Adam Duvall 7, Scott Schebler 9, Scooter Gennett 5, Jose Peraza 4, Tucker Barnhart 2, RHP Amir Garrett (2-2, 5.09).

Gamecast: The Reds have owned Cole, who’s gone 0-6 with a 5.44 ERA in eight career starts against them. Five of those outings were at GABP, where Cole is 0-3 with a 4.55 ERA. … Scooter Gennett has gone 8 for 17 (.471) against Cole, but has never driven in a run against him. The Reds’ biggest run-producer vs. Cole is not Joey Votto (two RBI in 15 at-bats), but Eugenio Suarez (three RBI in seven at-bats). … Garrett began him MLB career by tossing 12 straight scoreless innings over his first two starts. David Freese ended that run with a two-run homer in the seventh inning on April 12 at PNC Park. … So far this season, eight Reds have made their MLB debuts. … Rookie pitchers have started 175 of the Reds past 348 games (50.3 percent), including a club-record 110 games in 2015.

 

>>> Tuesday’s game: Braves at Pirates, 7:10 p.m., Great American Ball Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 7.98)

Reds: Lineup TBA. RHP Scott Feldman (1-2, 3.25)

 

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

Pirates: Lineup TBA RHP Jameson Taillon (2-0, 2.08)

Reds: Lineup TBA. RHP Rookie Davis (0-1, 11.17)

 

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

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Ivan Nova (3-2, 1.50)

Reds: Lineup TBA. RHP Tim Adelman (0-1, 4.70)

 

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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Game 21: Freese not in lineup but not ruled out to be available; a new Gift to open

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By Chris Adamski

NORTH SHORE – Two days after injuring himself when he missed the bag at first base, David Freese is “getting better” and hasn’t been ruled out to be available for Wednesday night’s game against the Chicago Cubs.

 

“Right hamstring tightness, day to day (but) he does feel better today,” head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk said about three hours prior to Wednesday’s scheduled 7:05 p.m. first pitch. “We will continue to treat and monitor him throughout the course of the day to see if there’s any availability for this evening. Obviously, (Thursday is a team off day) and we’ll re-assess him on Friday.”

 

On a team struggling offensively (last in the National League in runs), Freese has been the Pirates’ best hitter through three weeks. He leads the team in OPS (.954), home runs (tied, three), RBIs (10), average among regulars (.321) and walks (10).

 

The first game he missed was Tuesday – the Pirates were shut out.

 

>>> A new Gift to eagerly open:

GIFT
Gift Ngoepe is the first player from the continent of Africa to reach the Major Leagues. (Christopher Horner/Tribune-Review photo)

The Pirates made it farther into a season without a DL move than they had in 26 years. But once the transactions started coming, they kept coming.

 

For the third consecutive day, the Pirates announced a roster move. And in a never-seen-before twist, neither of the two parties involved in it were from the Americas.

 

Infielder Gift Ngoepe – a native of South Africa – was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis. Two days after being recalled and making his major-league debut, righty reliever Dovydas Neverauskas (MLB’s first born-and-raised Lithuanian) was optioned to Triple-A.

 

“I can’t describe the feeling right now. It hasn’t hit me yet,” Ngoepe said. “When (manager Clint Hurdle) calls me onto the field and says,`Hey, you have to go pinch-hit or pinch-run or take your glove out and play defense,’ that’s when everything will come together and I will burst into tears.”

 

As you might expect, Ngoepe is not in today’s lineup:

https://twitter.com/Pirates/status/857294863926263808

 

>>> You want links? I’ve got links:

Pirates call up Ngoepe, send down Neverauskas less than 48 hours after his recall

 

“There are going to be ups and downs throughout the whole year. You can’t get frustrated.”

Punchless Pirates 2-hit Cubs, lose on unearned run

 

“I do not see it as a program failure that we have positive tests.” 

MLB commissioner Manfred has faith in drug-testing program

 

“”I’m going to take my time to get my body better, get healthy, and work on my stuff.”

Pirates notebook: Hobbled Bastardo joins growing list of sidelined players

 

 

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

Cubs (12-8): Kyle Schwarber 7, Kris Bryant 5, Anthony Rizzo 3, Addison Russell 6, Jason Heyward 9, Willson Contreras 2, Javy Baez 4, Jon Lester 1, Jon Jay 8. LHP Lester (0-0, 2.66)

Pirates (8-12): Josh Harrison 5, Jordy Mercer 6, Andrew McCutchen 8, Gregory Polanco 7, Francisco Cervelli 2, Jose Osuna 9, Josh Bell 3, Phil Gosselin 4, RHP Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 7.94)

Gamecast: Going into Tuesday’s game, the Cubs scored four or more runs in an inning nine times this season. No other team in the majors has splurged as often. … In their first 11 wins, the Cubs hit .289 with an .870 OPS and averaged 7.4 runs. In their first eight losses, the Cubs batted .221 with a .614 OPS and averaged 2.8 runs. … Lester tossed seven scoreless innings vs. the Pirates on April 16 at Wrigley Field but wound up with a no-decision. Over his first three starts, Lester allowed a total of two runs on 14 hits. In his last outing Friday vs. the Reds, he yielded five runs on nine hits.

 

>>> Off day Thursday

 

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

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Jameson Taillon (1-0, 2.13 ERA)

Marlins (10-8): Lineup TBA. LHP Adam Conley (1-1, 3.00 ERA)

 

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

Pirates: Lineup TBA RHP Ivan Nova (2-2, 2.00 ERA)

Marlins: Lineup TBA. RHP Dan Straily (1-1, 3.92 ERA)

 

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

Pirates: Lineup TBA RHP Chad Kuhl (1-2, 6.63 ERA)

Marlins: Lineup TBA. RHP Tom Koehler (1-1, 5.14 ERA)

 

 

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib

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Game 16: Jose Osuna’s PNC Park debut comes in the starting lineup

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By Chris Adamski

NORTH SHORE – Some four hours prior to Friday’s first pitch, Jose Osuna had yet to shag flies in PNC Park’s unique right field. He’d also yet to see his name written into a regular-season major-league lineup.

 

Both changed in preparation for Friday’s game against the New York Yankees.

 

“It’s a good opportunity for showing what I can do in the field,” Osunsa said. “I have to do my job. Trying to do something good today and trying to find my first hit tonight.”

 

Osuna
Jose Osuna ranked third among all major leaguers in OPS during this spring training at 1.252. (Christopher Horner/Tribune-Review photo)

Osuna becomes the fourth different player to start in right over the first 16 games of the Pirates’ season – the third in three days since Andrew McCutchen had to vacate the position to shift back over to center following announcement of the 80-game suspension for Starling Marte.

 

Osuna was recalled when word of that broke Tuesday. He went 0 for 2 in pinch hitting duties over the final two games of the series in St. Louis, and he played an inning at first base, his natural position.

 

But opportunity exists, for 77 games at least, in RF now for the Pirates. Manager Clint Hurdle wouldn’t commit to naming – or even using – a regular everyday rightfielder during Marte’s absence. After hitting .407 (22-for-54) with a team-leading five homers and a 1.252 OPS in 22 spring training games, Osuna has the opportunity in front of him to earn the gig.

 

“I have to do my job,” Osuna said. “I am trying to stay here, so I know I just have to work.”

 

 

>>> Dang Yankees

It’s not your normal, run-of-the-mill late-April series at PNC Park, of course. It’s THE YANKEES.

 

“They travel well; they’re like the Beatles,” Hurdle said. “There will be al lot of Yankee fans in the ballpark tonight.”

 

Hurdle relayed how he saw plenty of pinstripe-adorned partisans around the city over the past 24 hours.

 

“I was kind of intrigued in the way they’d migrate over to the Mazeroski statue and get their picture taken,” Hurdle said. “Because to this day they will still complain about the one that got away more than the (27 World Series titles they’ve won). That one got away is still the rock in the shoe.”

 

The Mazeroski statue, of course, commemorates the walk-off home run that allowed the Pirates to beat the Yankees in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series.

 

 

>>> You want links? I’ve got, well, one link:

“We have no problem pushing in our chips on some guys who’ve dealt with adversity.”

Daniel Hudson not slowed by Tommy John surgeries

 

 

>>> Friday’s game: Yankees at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Yankees (10-5): Brett Gardner 7, Chase Headley 5, Starlin Castro 4, Jacoby Ellsbury 8, Aaron Judge 9, Greg Bird 3, Austin Romine 2, Ronald Torreyes 6, LHP CC Sabathia (2-0, 1.47)

Pirates (6-9): 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 Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 12.25)

Gamecast: In his last outing, Sabathia, 36, was a 3-2 winner vs. the Cardinals. He allowed three hits and a walk and struck out six in 7.1 IP. … The Yankees had their eight-game winning streak snapped over the weekend by the White Sox. It’s the first time since 2000 that New York has won eight in a row before May. … The Cubs did not attempt a steal against Glasnow on Saturday. Opponents are 13 for 13 in stolen base attempts against him this year.

 

>>> Saturday’s game: Yankees at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Yankees: Lineup TBA. RHP Michael Pineda (2-1, 3.44)

Pirates: Lineup TBA RHP Jameson Taillon (1-0, 0.90 ERA)

 

>>> Sunday’s game: Yankees at Pirates, 1:35 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Yankees: Lineup TBA. LHP Jordan Montgomery (1-0, 4.22)

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Ivan Nova (1-2, 2.25)

 

>>> Monday-Wednesday games: Cubs at Pirates, all at 7:05 p.m., all at PNC Park. All on Root TV and 93.7 FM. Probable starting pitchers and lineups TBA.

 

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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