Left-hander Erik Bedard will take the bump tonight for the Pirates at PNC Park looking to bounce back from two rough starts in the month of June. Bedard has a 9.00 ERA over three starts. The damage came on the road in Milwaukee and Baltimore. The lefty allowed 12 runs over 7.0 innings combined the two starts. The other start was a seven inning beauty where Bedard held the Royals to two runs while punching out five.
“When a pitchers got his command, he’s obviously going to execute his pitches better,” Manager Clint Hurdle said. “As the season wears on and the grind, the volume of pitches and things sometimes they add up and they become walls. Whether they’re mechanical, or whether they’re mental, you work through them. You continue to try and get better. He’s taken it upon himself to try and tighten some things up from the last start to this start. There is some side work involved. Just revisiting some things. I think it’s always going to be challenging to grab a short snapshot and say, ‘This is what he is.’ Because we’ve seen him very good against good competition. Then we’ve seen him not have his best stuff, or his best command, or his best execution, and that never plays out well at this level.”
– Bill Mazeroski and Bill Virdon will no longer be on the bench for the Pirates during games this season. Both veteran players joined the team in Pittsburgh yesterday, but Hurdle said today that he got a call from MLB saying that they were no longer able to be there during the game.
“It’s really not within the rules and the regulations of the game, which I might have overlooked or got by me in my excitement to get them involved,” Hurdle said. “They’ll be out there with us on the field for all the pregame work and then once the game starts, we’ll find a place for them to enjoy the game and to put their experienced eyes on us from a different venue.”
“It was just a call that was made to [General Manager] Neal [Huntington]. We were told that would be the end of it…It didn’t surprise me. That’s why I went to [Twins skipper Ron] Gardenhire because I figured I’d get an okay there,” Hurdle said with a smile.
–The Bucs have won five straight home games and nine of their last 10 while going 20-11 overall at PNC Park this season. Pittsburgh’s 13-3 home record since May 12 is the best in the Major Leagues.
– Pittsburgh has scored 82 runs so far this month, ranking third among all National League teams behind Cincinnati (95) and New York (86). The Pirates are also third among N.L. teams with 22 home runs hit in June, trailing only Milwaukee (26) and Cincinnati (24).
– Pirates lineup: Jose Tabata LF, Josh Harrison RF, Andrew McCutchen CF, Casey McGehee 1B, Neil Walker 2B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Clint Barmes SS, Michael McKenry C, Erik Bedard LHP
– Twins lineup: Denard Span CF, Ben Revere RF, Josh Willingham LF, Justin Morneau 1B, Trevor Plouffe 3B, Brian Dozier SS, Jamey Carroll 2B, Drew Butera C, Francisco Liriano LHP