Roster Moves

A few late breaking roster moves before today’s game:

RHP Bryan Morris has been recalled from AAA. IF Jordy Mercer was optioned back down. Makes sense to send down Mercer since he hasn’t been playing at all. Morris is the last player left from the Jason Bay trade. He’ll be an extra arm in the bullpen.

IF Drew Sutton was claimed off of waivers. He’ll be the 25th man on the roster so Jordy Mercer can play every day in the minors. Sutton was part of the organization for about 24 hours last month when he was acquired from the Braves, then dealt to Tampa.

Dejan Kovacevic says that Morris is in town and available today, while Sutton will not arrive in time.

RHP Charlie Morton has been transferred to the 60-day DL to make space on the 40 man roster.

Today’s game starts at, well, now. Justin Verlander vs. Kevin Correia as the Pirates go for the sweep.

Series Preview: The Tigers

Current record: 18-20, 3rd place in NL Central, 4.0 games back

Up Next: Detroit Tigers, 18-20, 2nd place in AL Central, 4.0 games back

Season Series: 0-0, First time playing.

Notes: The Pirates head to Detroit for the start of Interleague play. Miguel CabreraPrince Fielder and Austin Jackson lead an offense that has scored 167 runs in 38 games, 4.39 per game. Fortunately, the pitching and defense has yielded 4.66 r/g. Curious to see who’ll be DHing for the Pirates this weekend.

Familiar Faces: Jim Leyland, Octavio Dotel and Don Kelly.

Probable Pitchers
Friday: RH Charlie Morton (2-3, 33.1 IP, 20 K, 4.05 ERA, 1.44 WHIP)
vs. Rh Justin Verlander (4-1, 58.1 IP, 56 K, 2.47 ERA, 0.87 WHIP)

Morton’s mechanical adjustments were very effective in his last start. Just when you thought the Pirates had already faced every good pitcher in the league, they face last year’s AL Cy Young award winner and MVP.

Saturday: RH A.J. Burnett (1-2, 31.2 IP, 31 K, 5.12 ERA, 1.26 WHIP)
vs. LH Drew Smyly (1-0, 39.0 IP, 32 K, 2.31 ERA, 1.10 WHIP)

Burnett’s been amazing, save the one awful start. Smyly is the Tigers’ hot young rookie.

Sunday: RH Kevin Correia (1-4, 40.0 IP, 14 K, 4.50 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)
vs. RH Max Scherzer (2-3, 41.2 IP, 48 K, 6.26 ERA, 1.73 WHIP)

Really hoping that Brad Lincoln gets this start instead of Correia. If not, then you have to imagine that Kevin will be on a very short leash. Even with nothing else going his way Scherzer still strikes out a bunch of guys. He’s the kind of pitcher that always
seems to right himself against the Bucs.

No lineups yet.

4:58 Update: Lineups:
Josh Harrison DH
Neil Walker 2B
Andrew McCutchen CF
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Garrett Jones RF
Casey McGehee 1B
Nate McLouth LF
Clint Barmes SS
Michael McKenry C

Don Kelly CF
Andy Dirks LF
Miguel Cabrera 3B
Prince Fielder 1B
Delmon Young DH
Alex Avila C
Brennan Boesch RF
Jhonny Peralta SS
Ryan Raburn 2B

Pedro Alvarez news and lineup chaos.

Big news from last night’s post-game show with Rocco DeMaro: GM Neal Huntington confirmed that when Pedro Alvarez is called up he will play third base and Andy LaRoche will go to a bench/utility role. This is not entirely surprising as NH has always said that he didn’t want to devalue Pedro by moving him to another position unless he had to but this is the first confirmation I’ve heard or read.

I fully expect Alvarez to be recalled for the next home stand starting Tuesday.  The everyday lineup should then look like this:

Behold my awesome MS paint skills

Not too bad. One more power hitter at 1B/RF and it would look a lot better. Now given that lineup potential, why would John Russell do this tonight:

McCutchen CF
Walker 3B
Doumit 1B
Jones RF
Church DH
Milledge LF
Iwamura 2B
Cedeno SS
Jaramillo C

No Tabata? Church DHing? Doumit NOT DHing? Iwamura playing? Let’s tackle these individually.

Jose Tabata is a 21 and has been in the bigs for three days. Word from the Pirates (via Rocco) is that Tabata is just getting a day off. He’s played two games! More truthful would be saying “Justin Verlander is starting and we don’t think Jose’s ready to face someone that nasty.”

Ryan Church doesn’t need to be in the game at DH. He had one week last month where he was the only one who was hitting and now JR is in love with him. My guess is that he’s still regaining his strength after a nasty stomach flu and this is JR’s way to get his bat in there while taking it easy on him. But there’s no excuse for that when…

…You have your good bat/no glove catcher playing out of position at first base. If Doumit’s not going to catch he should be DHing. Barring that, Delwyn Young – who is as mobile as a road cone – who be a better choice at DH.

Finally there is Iwamura. I posted about his struggles last month and nothing improved after that. Luckily Walker was promoted and has hit well and been very athletic at second. I expect Aki is in because he’s more familiar with Verlander. Also, Andy LaRoche’s back has been a problem and he hasn’t hit at all lately either.

That’s the end of my lineup rant. If you’re still with me then thanks for reading. For all I know these guys could go hit six homeruns tonight and run away with the game. It isn’t likely but anything is possible in a single game.