Let's not mince words: the Cubs are terrible and the Pirates could really use a sweep after their terrible week against the Reds and Braves. Clint Hurdle is not pulling his punches with a Sunday lineup today; all of his regulars are on the field, including Russell Martin.
After spending some time worrying about Jeff Locke's impending regression, his last three starts have been pretty interesting. In two of them, he's racked up seven strikeouts (once in six innings against the Brewers and once in 5 2/3 agains the Braves). In the other, he got a ton of groundballs (14 in 5 1/3 against the Tigers). Those are the two things that brought Locke his minor league success that he wasn't doing terribly well early in the year despite all of his success. Anyway, I'd love to see Locke put it all together and rack up eight whiffs in a dominant seven inning start against a terrible Cubs lineup today. His mound opponent is Edwin Jackson. Jackson started against the Pirates on May 23 and got six strikeouts in three innings, but he only lasted three innings because the Pirates hit him hard and chased him early.
First pitch today is at 2:20. Get out the brooms.