Game 65: Mets (32-33) @ Pirates (31-33)
You will not see Andrew McCutchen in the starting lineup tonight for no other reason than manager Clint Hurdle decided a while ago that this was going to be a day off for the centerfielder. The timing seems a bit odd given that McCutchen is riding an 11-game hitting streak and has produced as well as anyone in the National League this month. Add in the fact that he is 6-for-12 lifetime against Mets starter Mike Pelfrey and this came as a big surprise.
Hurdle knows that, but he wanted McCutchen benefiting from having Sunday night, all day Monday and Tuesday day to get some rest. He also mentioned that he sees his outfielder “redlining” lately. McCutchen will obviously be available off the bench, if needed.
A few other news and notes…
- Hurdle is wasting no time getting new catcher Michael McKenry involved. McKenry is starting behind the plate as Paul Maholm makes the start. Hurdle noted that the veteran Maholm calls his own game as much as anyone on the staff, so there is an expectation that he and McKenry will work fine together. McKenry is hitless in eight previous Major League at-bats (all with the Rockies in 2010).
- The Pirates are not done exploring the market for catchers. Hurdle noted that the organization would like to improve its depth, so don’t discount the possibility of the Pirates eventually landing another backstop with more Major League experience. For now, though, McKenry provides an upgraded option over Wyatt Toregas, who was designated for assignment.
- Josh Harrison (minor right oblique tightness) remains unavailable. He refrained from swinging or hitting again on Monday and it appears the club will wait until Wednesday before getting him back moving around the field. If it looks like Harrison is going to be sidelined much beyond Wednesday, expect the Pirates to make a move to get another infielder up here. The club has had discussions about Chase d’Arnaud, who is in the middle of a terrific offensive stretch in Triple-A.
- Speaking of Triple-A options, Alex Presley remains one as the Pirates consider him as a possible call-up option. The problem continues to be a lack of roster flexibility. The extra outfielders the Pirates are carrying cannot simply be sent to the Minors because each lacks the remainder of a Minor League option. On Monday, Hurdle reiterated that the club is remaining patient with its current options to see how things play out.
- No word yet on how Evan Meek’s visit with Dr. James Andrews went today.
- The Pirates need to win on Monday to have a winning homestand. The club has not actually had one all season. It’s been a different case on the road, obviously, where the Pirates are 17-15.
- If you were curious, yes Hurdle is aware he got thrown out by two umpires yesterday. He wasn’t initially, but was quickly told in the clubhouse of the unusual tossing. “Absolutely the first time I’ve been thrown out by two umpires. I guess it was almost synchronized. I don’t have any idea whether I’ll have to pay double the fine or not since I got thrown out twice. I’m sure I’ll find out sooner rather than later.”
PIRATES: J. Tabata (LF), X. Paul (CF), N. Walker (2B), G. Jones (RF), L. Overbay (1B), B. Wood (3B), M. McKenry (C), R. Cedeno (SS), P. Maholm (LHP)
METS: J. Reyes (SS), J. Turner (3B), C. Beltran (RF), A. Pagan (CF), J. Bay (LF), R. Paulino (C), D. Murphy (1B), R. Tejada (2B), M. Pelfrey (RHP)
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