Mariners (15-19) at Pirates (18-14)
12:35 PM–PNC Park, Pittsburgh
TV: ROOT, MLBN
The Bucs go for a two game sweep of the Mariners this afternoon as they wrap up this very brief interleague series at PNC.
Some more pregame roster news:
Josh Harrison – who was called up last night and was 0-for-1 as a pinch hitter – was sent right back down to AAA today.
The Pirates called up reliever Duke Welker to take his place. Welker, 27, is a pretty legit prospect (for a reliever at least). He’s got a great fastball and hasn’t allowed a run in 16 innings this year with Indianapolis (20 K, 8 BB).
Russell Martin is out of the lineup again. He strained his neck in warmups yesterday and is day-to-day.
Jeanmar Gomez will start again on Sunday in New York.
Felix Hernandez (4-2, 1.60) vs. A.J. Burnett (3-2, 2.57)
This might be the best pitching matchup we’ll see all year at PNC Park. Hernandez is just phenomenal, one of the best pitchers in all of baseball over the last several years, and we obviously don’t get to see him much (he’s faced the Pirates just once before today). “King Felix” will make things very tough on the Bucs today but I’m looking forward to watching him pitch anyway.
The good news is the Bucs have their ace on the mound as well. Burnett lost his NL strikeout lead to the Mets’ Matt Harvey last night, but he’ll regain it today with just two. I expect a few more than that against a pretty bad Mariners offense. AJ is coming off an excellent start against the Nats and I think he has a chance to combine with Hernandez (and the bullpens) to break the PNC Park combined strikeout record today. That currently stands at 26, set in 2003 mainly by Mark Prior.
Mariners vs. AJ
Bucs vs. Felix
Here is today’s #Pirates lineup for the 12:35 game vs Seattle at PNC. #LetsGoBucs twitter.com/Pirates/status…
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) May 8, 2013