Before putting up a preview of tonight's game, let's hit today's news and rumors quickly.
The Pirates have placed @theFortMcKenry on the 15-day DL with a left knee sprain. The team intends to recall Alex Presley from AAA.
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) July 29, 2013
You probably could've guessed something like this was coming yesterday when the Pirates put Travis Snider of the disabled list for his toe problem and recalled Tony Sanchez instead of an outfielder. As an aside, pretty much everyone had a good laugh at Snider being shelved for a heretofore-unknown and thus-presumably-imaginary toe problem, but the fact that they disabled him before McKenry indicates that maybe it is something that's been bothering him for a while.
In any case, this is interesting for two reasons. One is that Tony Sanchez's first big league start at catcher (and myabe his first two) will come against the Cardinals this week. He'll almost certainly start the half of the double-header tomrrow that Wednesday AJ Burnett doesn't start (for now, it looks like it'll be either Stolmy Pimenel or Kris Johnson starting), and since the Pirates have no off-days until Monday, it wouldn't surprise me if he gets another start this week before Sunday. It's also interesting just because Alex Presley was called up instead of Andrew Lambo, though Presley's hit OK both with Indy and with the Pirates this year and given how long Lambo was at Double-A and how comparatively little he's played at Triple-A, I can understand a hesistance to call him up for his debut in such a bit spot.
Meanwhile, all's still quiet on the trade front. Jayson Stark said today that the White Sox want "two top prospects, plus a 'lesser' player" for Alex Rios, which is so hilarious that it has to be posturing or idiocy. Clearly, if the White Sox are trading Rios at this deadline, they're going to have to perform a Dave Littlefield-like demand collapse at the last second. This is sort of what I was expecting when I said over the weekend that the Pirates may not be able to make a move until the deadline, no matter how much they'd like help for this Cardinal series (via MLBTR).
Also, the Pirates are apparently one of two front-runners for Brian Wilson, which I'm fine with so long as he's healthy enough to be effective.
Finally, MJ Baumann at Grantland today looks at Neal Huntington's last two deadlines and how he managed to be a "buyer" without giving away too much at either of those deadlines has positioned the Pirates nicely for this one.