Game 58: Phillies (34-24) @ Pirates (28-29)
In case you missed the writeup last night, I wanted to highlight a few attendance notes again here:
- The crowd of 39,441 on Saturday night was the largest in PNC Park history. The Pirates drew 39, 219 on Opening Day, which was previously the second largest attendance total for a game here.
- With Saturday’s total, the Pirates are now averaging 20,194 fans per game this year. That represents an increase of 18.6 percent through the first 25 home games compared to 2010. Only three other clubs (Rangers 37.1%, Blue Jays 20.37% and Indians 19.76%) have had better percentage increases to this point.
- The Pirates are expecting another 30,000+ at the park today, so that average is only going to increase further. Last year, the Pirates averaged 30,603 for a four-game series against the Phillies that took place over the July 4 weekend. The average this year will be signficantly higher.
And on to other news and notes…
- As expected, Brandon Wood gets the start at short today. Manager Clint Hurdle had it mapped out to give Ronny Cedeno the day off. Neil Walker, who has started every game but one this year, will not be in the lineup on Tuesday. That will give him consecutive days of rest, too.
- Third baseman Pedro Alvarez played third and took six at-bats in an extended Spring Training game on Saturday. Hurdle said he has been told Alvarez is improving but is not at 100 percent yet. No determination has been made as to when Alvarez will complete his stint in Florida. He’s eligible to come off the DL any time.
- Outfielder Alex Presley came out of Triple-A Indianapolis’ game on Saturday after being hit in the right arm by a pitch. He was reevaluated on Sunday and listed as day-to-day.
- Charlie Morton is the first Pirates pitcher since Kris Benson in 2004 to go eight games without allowing a homer. Benson extended his string to 10.
- There will be a fitting matchup here on Wednesday, as former Pirates pitcher Zach Duke will make his return to PNC Park as a member of the D-backs and will oppose Paul Maholm. Daniel Hudson will pitch for Arizona on Tuesday and Josh Collmenter will go on Thursday.
- Pirates starters are 8-3 with a 2.13 ERA in their last 16 games. Only once during that span as a starter given up more than two earned runs.
- The Pirates have not swept the Phillies in Pittsburgh since 2002. The club has just one other sweep this season and it was in a two-game set against the Reds (May 18-19).
- If the Pirates can find a way to beat Roy Halladay today, the club will be back at .500 (29-29). The team has not been at .500 this late in a season since 2005, when the Pirates were 30-30 on June 11.
PIRATES: X. Paul (LF), J. Harrison (3B), A. McCutchen (CF), N. Walker (2B), L. Overbay (1B), G. Jones (RF), B. Wood (SS), D. Brown (C), J. McDonald (RHP)
PHILLIES: S. Victorino (CF), P. Polanco (3B), C. Utley (2B), R. Howard (1B), R. Ibanez (LF), C. Ruiz (C), D. Brown (RF), W. Valdez (SS), R. Halladay (RHP)
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