Third baseman Pedro Alvarez is out of the lineup this afternoon with the Royals throwing a lefty to the mound in Bruce Chen. Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle said that’s not, however, the reason for him sitting today.
“I’m not so sure it’s taking him out of his game,” Hurdle said. “I’m trying to get him quality reps. I’m also trying to keep some other guys that have given us a shot in the arm quality reps.”
Today wraps up just a three game homestand at PNC Park. The Bucs are looking to take their second series sweep of the season. Hurdle said there is nothing difficult about the quick turn around before heading to Baltimore, then Cleveland.
“When you’ve done this, the biggest challenge is just getting your laundry moved around,” Hurdle said. “I mean, seriously. You unpack a bag and pack a bag. It’s basically unload your gear and go. Try and make sure you love on the people you need to love on while your home, play some good baseball, then get back after it on the road.”
In eight career starts at PNC Park, right-hander A.J. Burnett has posted a 1.41 ERA over 54.1 innings. Burnett will make his 10th start of the season this afternoon. He has won four straight decisions. If you subtract Burnett’s 12 run outing in St. Louis, the righty has just a 1.89 ERA on the season.
The Pirates have posted the best record in the Major Leagues since May 25 (11-3). This marks Pittsburgh’s best 14-game record since going 11-3 in June/July of 2004.
In their last six games, the Pirates have gone 19-for-45 (.422 avg) with runners in scoring position. They are hitting .347 in their last 12 games with RISP, knocking in 44 runs in those games.
Pirates lineup: Presley 7, Walker 4, McCutchen 8, McGehee 5, Hague 3, Barajas 2, Harrison 9, Barmes 6, Burnett 1
Royals lineup: Gordon 7, Giavotella 4, Hosmer 3, Moustakas 5, Pena 2, Maier 9, Escobar 6, Dyson 8, Chen 1