The Pirates already have two West Coast wins in the bank after Francisco Liriano and AJ Burnett dominated the Padres on Monday and Tuesday night, but a sweep would mean that the Pirates could go 5-2 on this seven-game swing just by splitting with the Giants over the weekend. The Padres haven't looked good at all this week and so I'll repeat the mantra that I've had for much of this year: be greedy. Win this game now when you can.
Gerrit Cole starts for the Bucs, and I thought he looked pretty good against the Diamondbacks last time out after his start was pushed back a bit. Cole consistently looks like he's just a hair's breadth away from having a really dominant start, and every time he takes the mound I cross my fingers that that night will be the night. Tonight's no different. It's worth noting that as a native Southern Californian, it's a good bet that Cole will have a ton of family in the stands for this game. Ian Kennedy is starting for the Padres. Kennedy's three starts with the Padres haven't been much different than his previous work with the D'Backs, which is to say that it's mostly bad. Last time out, he served up three homers and five runs to the Mets in less than five innings.
There is a pre-game roster move to mention: Felix Pie has been placed on the 40-man roster, called up, and penciled into tonight's lineup in the leadoff spot. To make room for him, Ryan Reid has been sent down to the minors and Wandy Rodriguez has been moved to the 60-day disabled list. Wandy has been on the disabled list since June 5th, which means he'll be eligible to come back whenever he's ready. Moving him to the 60-day basically just punts the roster decision down the road. As Pirates Prospects points out, neither Alex Presley nor Andrew Lambo can be recalled without an injury, so Pie's call-up is almost certainly excluslively a short-term move (and his stay on the 40-man roster might not be any different) to fill in while Starling Marte's finger is bothering him. Pie is a strong defensive outfielder and he's a fast guy. He is a really terrible hitter, and I can't explain why he's batting leadoff.
The first pitch tonight is at 6:40, which is 3:40 San Diego time, which is a weird time for a baseball game.