The (Thursday) Windup, “More in Stewart’s furnace than just Cole” Edition

With the Cardinals’ afternoon loss against the Twins, the Bucs will begin tonight’s game within 4 1/2 games of division leading St. Louis — the closest they have been to the top since May 1. …

The Bucs will begin tonight’s game with a staff ERA of 1.74 through the first 15 games of this month. As the brilliant minds at the Elias Sports Bureau tell us, these are the lowest team ERAs on the record for the month of June:

How long can they keep turning away hitters and turning back the clock? … 

With Neil Walker dealing with a “stomach ailment,” Josh Harrison is pressed into second-base duty, resulting in Corey Hart getting the start against a right-hander (Jeff Samardzija). It’s not Hart’s first go against a righty; his first two starts of the season, in the opening week, were against the Brewers’ Jimmy Nelson and Detroit’s Shane Greene.

  • Harrison 2b
  • Marte lf
  • McCutchen cf
  • Kang 3b
  • Alvarez 1b
  • Polanco rf
  • Mercer ss
  • Hart DH
  • Stewart c
  • [Cole p]

Stewart has worked a fabulous catcher’s ERA of 1.66 this season, and you’re shortchanging him if you associate that number with the fact he usually catches the arguably best pitcher in the rotation. Perhaps surprisingly, fewer than half of Stewart’s innings behind the plate have come with Gerrit Cole on the mound ( 60 1/3 of a total of 135 1/3). … 

As usual, Clint Hurdle has been holding his pre-game media briefing in the manager’s office, which in U.S. Cellular Field is very … well, let’s just say cozy. Doesn’t take many of them to make it wall-to-wall reporters.

Pirates media guru Dan Hart asked Hurdle whether he’d prefer to hold the presser in the dugout, “for my comfort,” Hurdle grinned, setting up his punchline.

“I told Dan I’m very comfortable here. I enjoy watching your guys’ Pilates class,” said Hurdle, referring to the body contortions required to get in and out of his closet … I mean, office. … 


Great game tonite as whole team holds in a good pitcher’s battle and wins.
Five wins in a row with Kang in the 4 hole.
Walker better start to hit, ’cause even though he’s a loved ‘Burgher, we’d sacrifice nothing defensively, and he can take his high priced contract elsewhere.

Neil has ‘stomach discomfort’?! I would too…..

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