I’ve been saying “11-5 11-5 11-5” like a broken record for about a week now in relation to the Pirates’ 16-game stretch against the Cubs, Rays, Mets, Phillies, and Diamondbacks, but here’s a dirty secret: it’d be just fine if the Pirates won more than 11 games in this stretch. That’s going to be a bit of a trick today. With Starling Marte’s injury, he’s out of the lineup. That puts Josh Harrison in left field (which is fine for now, but is a scary thing at PNC Park — good news is that apparently Marte does not have a concussion), which puts Clint Barmes at third base. Since Chris Stewart is catching and David Price is on the mound that means that Russell Martin is DHing, which just leaves a mess of a lineup for a team that’s using a DH.
Still, it’s pretty clear from the first two games of this series that this Rays team is a mess and the Pirates have Charlie Morton on the mound. Morton’s last start was rough, but before that it looked like he was settling into 2013 form again. The Pirates will probably need a strong start from him given the Pirates’ lineup today and the presence of David Price on the mound. Price is on a ridiculous strikeout tear in June, whiffing 43 in 31 1/3 innings and getting at least ten strikeouts in each of his four starts this month.
I thought the first pitch today was at 12:35, but apparently it’s already happened.