July 2: Mets (38-39) @ Pirates (36-42)

What became a 10-game homestand because of a makeup game, finally concludes today with a mid-day contest against the Mets. Thursday’s game is a makeup from June 3, also the day that Nate McLouth was dealt away. Interestingly enough, since that McLouth trade, the Pirates are 12-14, not starkly different than the 24-28 they were before the deal. Take that for what it’s worth.

As for your news and notes for the morning…

  • Triple-A Indianapolis will be represented by right-handed reliever Chris Bootcheck and catcher Eric Kratz in the Triple-A All-Star game on July 15.
  • Oddly enough, this is the second of just nine home games the Pirates play this month, and they won’t be home again for 15 days.
  • The Pirates will be looking to win their fifth straight game against the Mets at PNC Park. Pittsburgh has averaged 6.75 runs a game in those last four wins.
  • There’s no one the Pirates would rather have on the mound here than lefty Paul Maholm, who is 3-1 with a 1.96 ERA at home this season. That’s the fourth-lowest home ERA among all National League starters. Going back even further, Maholm has a 2.98 home ERA since the start of 2007.
  • The Mets enter Thursday’s game having won just one of their last six games.
  • Nyjer Morgan will make his debut for the Nationals on Friday after not playing in Washington’s day game against the Marlins on Wednesday. Burnett, though, has already made his first appearance. He was charged with a blown save on Wednesday after allowing a game-tying home run in the seventh. It was the only hit Burnett allowed in 1 1/3 innings.
  • Just a day off for Freddy Sanchez today. Manager John Russell had planned to sit Sanchez on Sunday until Ramon Vazquez came down with a stomach flu.
  • The fact that Sanchez is out prompted Russell to bump Wilson up into the No. 2 hole. It’s the third time the season that Wilson will hit second.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen  (CF)
  2. Jack Wilson (SS)
  3. Delwyn Young (RF)
  4. Adam LaRoche (1B)
  5. Garrett Jones (LF)
  6. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  7. Robinzon Diaz (C)
  8. Ramon Vazquez (2B)
  9. Paul Maholm (LHP)

Mets lineup:

  1. Luis Castillo (2B)
  2. Alex Cora (SS)
  3. David Wright (3B)
  4. Gary Sheffield (RF)
  5. Fernando Tatis (LF)
  6. Ryan Church (CF)
  7. Nick Evans (1B)
  8. Omir Santos (C)
  9. Tim Redding (RHP) 

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