UPDATE: Mark Melancon has been named to the National League All-Star team as a replacement for Jeff Locke, who is inactive for Tuesday’s game.
–A win for the Pirates would give the team 57 wins, or as many as the 2010 club won in 162 games. The Pirates are currently tied for the best record in baseball at 20 games over .500, and also tied for first place with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Also of note, if the Pirates win today the 57 wins would tie the franchise record for wins before the All-Star Break. So far, the team’s 56-36 record is the best before the break since 1975 when the club entered the Midsummer Classic at 55-33.
But if the Pirates reach 57 wins today that would mark the only time in franchise history the team won 57 games before the All-Star Break since 1971—the year in which the Pirates won the World Series.
“We’re focused I believe on the right things, obviously it’s improvement, I’m very pleased,” Hurdle said about the season to-date. “But nobody out there’s satisfied. I’m not satisfied.”
–The Pirates’ 4-2 win over the Mets last night came in front of the largest crowd to-date at PNC Park, a sellout crowd of 39,173. The sellout was also the eighth time in 2013 the Pirates sold out PNC Park, and another sellout is expected today at over 36,000.
–Locke misses his start today due to stiffness in his lower back, and Cole moves up a spot in the rotation. Locke is expected to return the third game after the All-Star Break on Sunday, July 21 at Cincinnati.
Cole’s start still comes on regular rest despite moving up a day, because of the Pirates’ off-day Thursday. Cole has lost two straight starts after going 4-0 in the month of June. Cole allowed three runs on eight this in five and one-third innings against the Phillies July 4 and gave up two runs on five hits in as he pitched through seven innings for the first time earlier this week against the Oakland Athletics.
–His match-up from New York, Dillon Gee, has never lost a start against the Pirates, and won in his last outing at PNC Park in 2011 when he pitched eight innings and allowed just one run. Gee is yet to record a win in the month of July, as he did not factor in his two starts so far this month. His last start came July 9 in San Francisco, where he allowed five runs on nine hits in six and two-thirds innings.
–Russell Martin receives a day of rest this afternoon, as the beginning of July has seen his average dip into the .230s. Martin has just five hits in 32 at-bats this month, and is replaced by Michael McKenry behind the plate who bats seventh. In addition, Jordy Mercer moves up to the two-hole between Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen while Jose Tabata hits fifth.
1. Starling Marte LF
2. Jordy Mercer 2B
3. Andrew McCutchen CF
4. Pedro Alvarez 3B
5. Jose Tabata RF
6. Garrett Jones 1B
7. Michael McKenry C
8. Clint Barmes SS
9. Gerrit Cole P
1. Eric Young Jr. LF
2. Daniel Murphy 2B
3. David Wright 3B
4. Marlon Byrd RF
5. Josh Satin 1B
6. Kirk Nieuwenhuis CF
7. John Buck C
8. Omar Quintanilla SS
9. Dillon Gee P