August 8: Cardinals (60-51) @ Pirates (45-64)

PNC Park is expecting a sellout tonight. Wish I could tell you that was because of baseball. Granted, there are plenty of Cardinals fans in town (evident by the number of red shirts in the stands on Friday) and some Pirates faithful of course. But it’s SkyBlast tonight, the yearly fireworks and concert hoopla. Tonight’s band of choice is O.A.R., another group that this music-illiterate beat writer of yours is unfamiliar with. You can see why I wasn’t a finalist for a newspaper entertainment writing job.

The Pirates have averaged 37,020 fans for the 16 SkyBlast dates since 2001.

Regardless of whether the draw is baseball, fireworks or O.A.R, the Pirates have fared extremely well in front of large home crowds this year. The team is 6-0 this year playing in front of a home crowd of 30,000+. Maybe that will bode well for snapping this six-game losing streak.

As for today’s news, notes and randomness…

  • Double-A starter Tim Alderson pitched six innings of no-hit ball on Saturday night. He allowed one baserunner. Alderson, who was traded straight up for Freddy Sanchez on July 29, retired the last 16 hitters he faced. This was his second start since joining Double-A Altoona.
  • Much of the club was on the field early this afternoon for extra defensive work. It’s been obvious, to anyone who has watched these last few games, that the Pirates have had lapses in fundamentals. Expect that to be a point of serious emphasis by the coaching staff the rest of the year.
  • Maybe a Pirates team needing to find some encouraging signs for the offense can build off this one: on Saturdays this season, the Bucs have averaged 5.7 runs per game. They are 11-6.
  • Lefty Daniel Moskos has come off the disabled list and will make his next start for Altoona on Saturday.
  • This is expected to be the last game that Rich Donnelly will serve as the team’s interm third base coach. Donnelly has been there while Tony Beasley has been away because of a family situation. Beasley is expected to rejoin the team on Sunday.
  • Charlie Morton takes the mound later tonight looking to win for the first time since July 18. Since then, Morton has allowed 10 runs in 16 2/3 innings. In those three games, though, Morton has gotten a total of just 10 runs of support.
  • Morton is 0-2 with a 21.60 ERA in two career starts against the Cardinals. Yikes. He allowed four earned runs in 1 1/3 innings last August and allowed eight earned runs in 3 2/3 innings in a start against them last July.
  • Andrew McCutchen is hitting .404 with five homers in his last 12 games at PNC Park.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  3. Garrett Jones (1B)
  4. Ryan Doumit (C)
  5. Delwyn Young (2B)
  6. Brandon Moss (RF)
  7. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Charlie Morton (RHP)

Cardinals lineup:

  1. Skip Schumaker (2B)
  2. Colby Rasumus (CF)
  3. Albert Pujols (1B)
  4. Matt Holliday (LF)
  5. Ryan Ludwick (RF)
  6. Mark DeRosa (3B)
  7. Yadier Molina (C)
  8. Julio Lugo (SS)
  9. Adam Wainwright (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB  

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