Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 7/12/13
Mets (40-48) at Pirates (54-36) 7:05 PM–PNC Park, Pittsburgh MLB.com Gameday TV: ROOT The Bucs host the Mets in their final series before the All-Star Break as they look to finish the unofficial first half strong. New York may look like an easy opponent, especially at home, but the Metropolitans have actually been playing quite well lately. They’ve won four in a row and haven’t lost a series this month. News and notes: Pedro Alvarez will be in the Home Run Derby after all. David Wright chose him to replace Carlos Gonzalez, who will sit out with an injured finger. Wright will surely still hear it from the fans this weekend, but the story won’t be nearly as big or annoying now. More importantly, I’m sure Pedro is pumped for the opportunity to show off his power in his home city (and on national TV), and I’m pretty pumped to watch him do it on Monday night. Gerrit Cole to the minors? Wasn’t this discussion over when Wandy Rodriguez went down? Well, maybe not. Cole won’t pitch again for almost two weeks because of the break, so the Bucs could easily send him down for ten days, avoid any possibility of a Super Two (although they seem to be pretty safe there already), and maybe let him start a game with Indy to “stay fresh.” (Or, they could use the break to lighten his workload a bit, which may be a concern come September.) Regardless, he wouldn’t miss a scheduled start under this scenario, and the Pirates would be able to bring up an extra bullpen arm or bench bat before bringing him back up for his first post-ASB start, so why not? Tonight’s starters… Jeremy Hefner (4-6, 3.39) vs. Charlie Morton (1-2, 3.38) Hefner, who was Pirates property for a very short time two offseasons ago, has pitched pretty well lately. He’s not a very accomplished guy to this point in his career, but is in the midst of a great stretch of seven starts with one or two earned runs allowed. He also shut out the Bucs over seven innings last September. Charlie’s last outing was ruined by two Alfonso Soriano homers, but there were some encouraging signs: he went six innings, struck out six, and still has a solid 3.38 ERA. It’s a lot easier to feel OK about Chuck in the rotation when he’s clearly the #5 starter – which he is at this point. The Mets don’t have a great offense and he’s back at PNC, so hopefully he can post a strong outing in this one.
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