News: Martin was suspended one game Tuesday for his role in Sunday's brawl with the Brewers, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Impact: Martin is in Tuesday's lineup against the Reds, but with four appearances in the last five games, he'll likely opt to sit rather than fight the ban. If so, Chris Stewart will man the backstop for the Pirates.
News: Snider was suspended two games Tuesday for his involvement in Sunday's brawl with the Brewers, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Impact: If he accepts the ban, which is likely, Snider will take a seat Tuesday and Wednesday against the Reds. He was slated to start in right field Tuesday.
News: Mercer (ankle) was back in the Pirates' lineup Tuesday, but went 0-for-3, seeing just seven pitches on the night.
Impact: Mercer did not require a sub in Tuesday's game, despite battling with ankle discomfort since last Friday. He should be considered relatively healthy going forward.
News: Volquez gave up two runs on five hits and one walk with three strikeouts in seven innings Tuesday against the Reds.
Impact: Volquez was out-pitched by Johnny Cueto, so he took his first loss of the season. However, he still gave his owners a quality start, and allowed just seven base-runners (one hit-by-pitch) in seven innings. The Pittsburgh magic that turned around A.J. Burnett and Francisco Liriano's careers may be at it again. However, both of those pitchers always had better pure stuff than Volquez, which is clear by the fact that Volquez has just 16 strikeouts in 28 innings this season. Owners should enjoy the production, at least while it lasts.
Stolmy Pimentel - #38 - Pitcher - 6'3" - 230lbs
News: Pimentel is an option to start Thursday against the Reds, MLB.com reports.
Impact: The Pirates need a replacement for Wandy Rodriguez (knee), who hit the DL on Monday, and it sounds like Pimentel could get the assignment. The 24-year-old right-hander has been working in long relief this season, and has allowed one runs on five hits and four walks over seven innings. Jeanmar Gomez and Triple-A starter Brandon Cumpton are both options as well.
News: Major League Baseball has suspended four players involved in last Sunday's brawl between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Milwaukee Brewers, including Snider.
Impact: Snider must sit two games, but he will appeal.
News: Major League Baseball has suspended four players involved in last Sunday's brawl between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Milwaukee Brewers, including Martin.
Impact: Martin will be banned one game for the Bucs, but he will appeal.
News: McCutchen went 3 for 3 with a solo homer in a 6-5 win over Cincinnati on Monday night.
Impact: McCutchen has boosted his average to .273 by going 14 for 41 (.341) in his last 10 games. He also has five doubles, two homers and eight RBIs in that stretch.
News: Davis became the first player to hit grand slams for different teams in the same April, and the Pittsburgh Pirates twice overcame deficits to beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-5 on Monday night.
Impact: Davis hit a game-winning, ninth-inning slam off the Reds' J.J. Hoover on April 5 for the New York Mets, who traded him to the Pirates on Friday. According to STATS, no player previously hit slams for different teams in the same April. Davis became just the third to hit slams for different teams against the same opponent in the same year, following Ray Boone in 1953 and Mike Piazza in 1998.
News: Walker had an RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates twice overcame deficits to beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-5 on Monday night.
Impact: Walker had three hits for the second straight game and has raised his average from .229 to .275 in that stretch.
News: Mercer (ankle) is back in the Pirates' lineup Tuesday versus the Reds.
Impact: Mercer has endured discomfort in his right ankle since last Friday, accumulating just four at-bats in the interim. However, he'll take over shortstop and bat eighth in his return.
News: Tabata is out of the Pirates' lineup Tuesday versus the Reds.
Impact: Tabata started the last four contests in right field, which will now be manned by Travis Snider. During the aforementioned stretch, Tabata batted a measly .176 (3-for-17) with two RBI and one run scored.
News: Marte snapped a 14-game strikeout streak Monday, going 1-for-5 against the Reds.
Impact: The left fielder, who struck out 25 times during the stretch, leads the major leagues with 31 strikeouts. Fantasy owners accept the K's as part of Marte's overall package, but at some point manager Clint Hurdle could move him out of the leadoff spot. That won't likely happen, however, until prospect Gregory Polanco arrives in Pittsburgh. Marte holds a .259/.337/.353 line in 85 at-bats.
News: Snider, who could receive punishment Tuesday for his role in Sunday's brawl against the Brewers, delivered a pinch-hit single Monday.
Impact: The outfielder avoided a concussion and appears healthy enough to play -- barring a likely suspension, of course. Snider has a long history of injury concerns but has managed to stay healthy thus far in 2014.
News: Mercer (ankle) pinch hit for the second straight game Monday and took the field for an inning against Cincinnati.
Impact: After whiffing with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning, Mercer saw his first action at short since Friday. He has two hits in seven career at-bats against Tuesday's starter, Johnny Cueto, and figures to return to the lineup.
Jeanmar Gomez - #30 - Pitcher - 6'3" - 222lbs
News: Gomez is a candidate to start Thursday afternoon after Pittsburgh placed Wandy Rodriguez on the disabled list Monday.
Impact: Stolmy Pimentel, Jeff Locke and Brandon Cumpton are also other possibilities to replace Rodriguez. Gomez is off to a slow start with a 6.10 ERA in 10.1 innings -- he's allowed an earned run in four of five outings.
News: Despite going 0-for-4 against the Reds on Monday, Martin is hitting .313 (5-for-16) since moving to the two hole in the batting order.
Impact: Martin scored the winning run Monday but appeared to have trouble getting up with his left leg after sliding across home plate. The team made no postgame mention of an injury, but it's possible the team could hold him back for a game. At the least, it's something to keep an eye on.
News: Davis is starting at first base for the third straight game Monday against the Reds.
Impact: Davis is 3-for-9 at the plate since coming over from the Mets via trade, and Pirates manager Clint Hurdle appears eager to continue to give him playing time at first base. If Davis stays hot at the plate, Hurdle may be inclined to continue to lean towards Davis over Gaby Sanchez at first, in what was originally thought to be a platoon.
News: Sanchez is not in the lineup for the third straight game Monday against the Reds.
Impact: Sanchez has seen his playing time take a hit with the recent arrival of Ike Davis, who will be making his third straight start at first base Monday. Davis is expected to earn an opportunity to win the everyday first base job, and manager Clint Hurdle's recent lineup decisions have reflected this line of thinking.
News: Morris could be used as Pittsburgh's closer Monday due to the Pirates' bullpen workload in recent days.
Impact: Jason Grilli, Mark Melancon and Tony Watson have each pitched in both of the team's last two games. Manager Clint Hurdle shies away from using relievers three straight days, opening the door for Morris, who threw two innings Saturday -- or another rested arm.
Jared Hughes - #48 - Pitcher - 6'7" - 245lbs
News: Hughes was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday.
Impact: Hughes was recalled to take the the roster spot of Wandy Rodriguez, who was placed on the 15-day DL Monday with right knee inflammation. It's currently uncertain whether or not Hughes will take the spot of Rodriguez in the rotation, or if manager Clint Hurdle will go in another direction.
News: Rodriguez was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday due to right knee inflammation.
Impact: Rodriguez is off to a shaky start this season, failing to make it past six innings in any of his starts, and posting a 7.65 ERA along the way. Perhaps the knee issue is responsible for some of the lefty's troubles, so Rodriguez will use this DL stint to get some rest with the hopes of returning at full strength. Jared Hughes was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis in a corresponding move to take the place of Rodriguez on the roster.
News: McCutchen had a nice day Monday, going 3-for-3 with a home run and two runs scored.
Impact: Things have been slow for McCutchen this April, but the Pirates' center fielder seems to be turning things around. McCutchen has hit two home runs in his last five games and has raised his average up to .273 after his slow start.
News: Davis had a monster day at the dish Monday, going 2-for-4 with a grand slam.
Impact: Davis has hit his stride since coming over to the Pittsburgh in a trade with the Mets. In three games with the Pirates, Davis has gone 5-for-13, bringing his average up to a respectable .270.
News: Liriano took a no-decision Monday, allowing five runs four earned in seven innings.
Impact: Liriano hasn't had the best of starts to his season, allowing three or more runs in four straight starts after his masterful Opening Day turn. He'll look to enter the win column for the first time this season when he faces the Cardinals this weekend.
Jared Hughes - #48 - Pitcher - 6'7" - 245lbs
News: Hughes was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis before Monday night's game against the Cincinnati Reds.
Impact: Hughes did not allow a run in five appearances and six innings at Indianapolis, going 1-0 with three saves.
News: Rodriguez was placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Pittsburgh Pirates because of right knee inflammation.
Impact: Rodriguez was 0-2 with a 7.65 ERA in four starts. He did not pitch after June 5 last season because of tightness in his forearm but has said since the start of spring training his arm feels fine. Rodriguez was scheduled to start Thursday against Cincinnati.
News: Mercer (ankle) is not in the lineup for Monday's game against the Reds.
Impact: Mercer was able to pinch-hit in Sunday's game, but it appears he is still too sore to play a full nine innings. Clint Barmes will be the Pirates' starting shortstop again Monday night.
News: Walker had three hits and drove in a run in a 3-2 loss to Milwaukee in 14 innings Sunday.
Impact: Walker, batting .250, was 1 for 15 (.067) in his previous four games.
News: Snider has avoided any concussion symptoms or fractures following his involvement in Sunday's bench-clearing brawl, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Impact: Snider remains out of the lineup for the fourth straight game Monday, but the good news is that it doesn't appear to be injury-related. Although he has bruising and a cut under his eye following Sunday's skirmish, it looks like he'll avoid a trip to the DL. Jose Tabata will once again start in his place in right field.
Mark Melancon - #35 - Pitcher - 6'2" - 215lbs
News: Despite throwing both Saturday and Sunday, Pirates manager, Clint Hurdle, said there's a chance Melancon may be available Monday, too, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Impact: Hurdle doesn't like using relievers three days consecutively, but with Jason Grilli and Tony Watson unavailable, Melancon could get a shot at a save against Cincinnati.
News: Morris is not available to pitch out of the bullpen Monday, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Impact: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said prior to Monday's game that Stolmy Pimentel, Justin Wilson and Jared Hughes are available. Hurdle also stated that Mark Melancon might be available to pitch.
News: McCutchen's eight-game hitting streak ended Sunday with an 0-for-6 showing against the Brewers.
Impact: With 15 walks, McCutchen has almost doubled his total from April of 2013, when he collected eight bases on balls. He's battled ankle and back injuries, which may have also contributed to a poor start of one homer, three steals and a .527 OPS.
News: Stewart went 1-for-6 against Milwaukee on Sunday in his debut with the Pirates.
Impact: The defensively-minded catcher is expected to back up starter Russell Martin. Stewart holds a .214/.287/.288 slash line in parts of seven big-league seasons with five different teams.
News: Mercer (ankle) singled in a pinch-hitting appearance Sunday against the Brewers.
Impact: He still wasn't back in the starting lineup after getting spiked in the ankle by Milwaukee's Martin Maldonado on Friday, but it looks like he's close to returning.
Mark Melancon - #35 - Pitcher - 6'2" - 215lbs
News: Melancon, who already has compiled seven holds in 2014, could potentially move into the closer's role for Pittsburgh if Jason Grilli's struggles continue, though the team has yet to make any such statements to that effect.
Impact: Grilli has blown three of his seven save opportunities while Melancon has resembled the effective pitcher he was for much of 2013, when he compiled 16 saves while Grilli was hurt. It's conceivable Melancon initially gets save chances for a short period while Grilli works to resolve his early-season struggles, with the team then giving Grilli another shot after a week or two. Pittsburgh can ill afford to continue blowing save opportunities in the competitive N.L. Central.
Sun. Apr 20, 2014 | STATS
News: McCutchen hit his sixth double of the season Saturday against Milwaukee to extend his hitting streak to eight games.
Impact: McCutchen is 11 for 32 during his hitting streak with five doubles and seven RBIs.
News: Grilli blew his second save in as many days Sunday against the Brewers, allowing a game-tying solo shot to Ryan Braun to send the game to extra innings.
Impact: Pardon Grilli for suffering from a case of dejà vu after Braun also hit the go-ahead homer in Saturday's contest, but the back-to-back blown saves might loosen Grilli's grip on the closer gig a little bit. While Grilli's impressive numbers the last three seasons afford him some decent job security, the presence of the highly-capable Mark Melancon in the eighth inning could put some pressure on the closer if his struggles continue. Grilli's three blown saves in 2014 are already one more than he totaled last season.
News: Walker went 3-for-6 with a home run in Sunday's loss to the Brewers.
Impact: With six home runs in just 81 at-bats, Walker is nearly halfway to his homer total (16) from all of last season. The increased power production has been muted to a degree by a substandard .250 average, but home runs are often difficult to come by at the second base position.
News: Cole was dominant Sunday against the Brewers, allowing one run on six hits and a walk over eight innings. He struck out six batters in a no-decision.
Impact: Cole narrowly avoided an ejection in the third inning that would have prevented the gem from materializing, as he approached the Brewers' Carlos Gomez with some unkind words following his triple, inciting a benches-clearing brawl. Travis Snider was the only Pirate to be thrown out of the game following the brawl, and Cole made no further mistakes aside from giving up a game-tying home run to Mark Reynolds in his final inning of work. The Pirates scored in the bottom half of the inning to put him on track for the win, but a blown save by Jason Grilli in the ninth ultimately robbed him of his third victory.
Sun. Apr 20, 2014 | STATS
News: Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez and Snider were ejected from a game Sunday afternoon following a third-inning brawl. Both benches cleared when Gomez and Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole got in a shouting match after Gomez tripled off the wall with two outs in the third inning. Cole, upset with Gomez for flipping his bat after hitting the ball, stormed toward third base after Gomez slid in safely.
Impact: Gomez took a couple steps toward Cole before players from both dugouts and the bullpens entered the field. Gomez and Snider shoved one another before Gomez fell to the ground. Pirates catcher Russell Martin had to be restrained by teammate Gaby Sanchez as he walked off the field.
News: Alvarez's day off Sunday will be his first of the 2014 season.
Impact: Alvarez has three hits in his last 33 at-bats since hitting his fifth homer on April 10. He flied out to deep left Saturday, narrowly missing another home run. If an frustrated owner frustrated with Alvarez's slump is willing to sell, the third baseman could prove to be a nice value. His 11:19 BB:K ratio is better than in past seasons and he's hitting more to the opposite field.
News: Martin is not in the lineup Sunday against the Brewers.
Impact: Martin has been useful for fantasy owners in providing five hits and three RBI while starting the last three games, but he'll get a rest here with a day game following a night game. Chris Stewart (knee), who was activated from the 15-day DL on Saturday, will make his season debut behind the plate.
News: Sanchez will sit for the second game in a row Sunday against the Brewers.
Impact: The recent acquisition of Ike Davis effectively turns Sanchez back into a platoon player. As the right-handed hitter, Sanchez will see the smaller share of the starts, likely relegating his value primarily to NL-only leagues.
News: Alvarez is not in the lineup Sunday against the Brewers.
Impact: Alvarez is just 3-for-18 for his career against opposing starter Marco Estrada, which likely factored into manager Clint Hurdle's decision to give him the day off. Alvarez has shown his usual power in the early going with six homers in 18 games, but his batting average (.162) once again remains an issue for fantasy players.
News: Mercer (ankle) remains out of the lineup Sunday against the Brewers.
Impact: Mercer is still recovering from the ankle injury he sustained Friday night, when he slid awkwardly while covering second base. Manager Clint Hurdle indicated the shortstop remains in the treatment phase of his recovery, but a DL stint does not appear forthcoming as of now.
News: The Pirates designated Ishikawa for assignment Saturday, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Impact: Ishikawa opened the year on the plus side of a platoon at first base, but the acquisition of Ike Davis spelled the end of his tenure with the major league club. The 30-year-old will now be subjected to waivers, and a team desperate for a lefty bat could take a chance on him, but if not, Ishikawa will likely play out the season at Triple-A Indianapolis.
News: Alvarez is batting .462 (6-for-13) with a homer and four RBI against Matt Garza, Milwaukee's starting pitcher Saturday.
Impact: Alvarez went hitless in five at-bats Friday, stranding a whopping seven baserunners. Unluckiness seemed to follow him onto the field, too, as a groundball hit to him unraveled as he picked it up and threw it to first base.
News: Davis will start at first base and bat sixth in his Pirates debut Saturday.
Impact: Davis, whom the Pirates acquired from the Mets on Friday for reliever Zack Thornton and a player to be named, will step right in Saturday to face right-hander Matt Garza. Given Davis' track record against lefties, a platoon with Gaby Sanchez at first base seems likely, but Davis should see the lion's share of the starts. Travis Ishikawa was designated for assignment.
Clint Barmes - #12 - Short Stop - 6'1" - 200lbs
News: Barmes will start Saturday at shortstop and bat eighth against the Brewers.
Impact: Barmes could be in line for more action until the Bucs get a better read on Jordy Mercer's sore ankle. Surprisingly, Barmes has two home runs among his three hits in 12 career at-bats against Saturday starter, Matt Garza.
News: Mercer (ankle) is out of the starting lineup Saturday against the Brewers.
Impact: Mercer will be given at least one day to rest his sore right ankle, which took the brunt of a Martin Maldonado slide on a force play at second base Friday. Clint Barmes will man short and bat eighth against right-hander Matt Garza.
News: Davis smacked a double in his first at-bat with the Pirates on Saturday. He finished the game 2-for-3 with two runs and a walk.
Impact: The Bucs' newcomer wasted no time endearing himself to the fans at PNC Park after coming over Friday in a trade with the Mets. He's likely to split time at first with Gaby Sanchez, but the potential for Davis to emerge as an everyday starter is there if his performance dictates it.
News: Rodriguez lasted just four innings Saturday, getting pulled after allowing four earned runs on six hits on 66 pitches in a no-decision against the Brewers. He also allowed his seventh home run of the season.
Impact: Although he avoided his third loss of the season, the Pirates' southpaw has now failed to advance past the sixth inning in all four of his starts and has allowed 26 hits in that span. The 35-year-old's ERA climbed to an enormous 7.65 this season, and he simply hasn't been good enough for the Bucs.
Sat. Apr 19, 2014 | STATS
News: Morton suffered his second straight loss Friday against the Brewers.
Impact: Morton was shelled, giving up five runs and eight hits over six innings.
News: Sanchez was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis on Saturday, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Impact: Chris Stewart (knee) has been deemed ready following seven minor league rehab games, so Sanchez will head down to make room on the active roster. Sanchez went 6-for-18 with one extra-base hit in six games while up and will likely get another opportunity with the major league team before too long.
News: Stewart (knee) was activated from the 15-day disabled list Saturday, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Impact: Stewart missed the start of the year, after undergoing a minor knee procedure in mid-March, but he's ready to return to the role of backup catcher for Pittsburgh. As a corresponding move, Tony Sanchez was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. A .214/.287/.288 career hitter, Stewart makes for an absolute last-ditch option, even in deeper two-catcher leagues.
News: Morton labored through six innings, giving up five earned runs on eight hits with three strikeouts and two walks Friday night versus the Brewers.
Impact: Morton has been up and down over his first four outings of 2014. The 30-year-old hurler has a couple of quality starts, but also has been knocked around in his other two efforts. At this point, sitting with an 0-2 record and 4.32 ERA, Morton is really only a decent option for those in NL-Only formats.
News: The New York Mets traded Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night, parting ways with a power hitter who proved to be too inconsistent at the plate.
Impact: Davis hit 32 homers for the Mets in 2012, but fell off sharply last year. Davis was hitting .208 with one home run and five RBIs in 24 at-bats. He lost his starting job to Lucas Duda and was relegated to a part-time role with the Mets, who also have Josh Satin at first base.
News: Volquez earned his first win with the Pirates on Thursday night after an 11-2 rout of Milwaukee.
Impact: Volquez (1-0, 1.71 ERA) gave up two runs in seven innings, scattering eight hits. He's allowed two runs or fewer in each of his three starts this season.
News: Mercer left Friday's game against the Brewers with right ankle discomfort.
Impact: Mercer was spiked by Martin Maldonado on a force-out play at second base in the third inning of Friday's game, and was subbed out prior to the top of the fourth. The true extent of his injury is uncertain, but it wouldn't be surprising if he missed one game, at least.
News: Alvarez had a three-run shot and the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.
Impact: Alvarez's home run tied him for the major league lead with six, but he was 1 for 21 (.048) in his previous six games. Alvarez, who also singled Thursday, is batting .186 this season.
News: McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.
Impact: McCutchen, last year's NL MVP, hit a two-run homer in the first inning in his 57th at-bat. He has collected other hits lately, going 9 for 25 (.360) in his last six games.
News: Mercer left Friday's game against the Brewers after three innings, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Impact: Brewers backup catcher Martin Maldonado spiked Mercer on a force-out at second in the third inning, and while Mercer was in visible pain, he was able to finish out the frame. It seems the soreness became too much, however, as he was replaced by Clint Barmes prior to the top of the fourth inning. Consider him day-to-day until more information becomes available.
News: Davis was traded to the Pirates on Friday for Zack Thornton and a player to be named later.
Impact: Pittsburgh had been interested in Davis this offseason but felt the price was too high. Davis should get the chance to, at minimum, platoon with Gaby Sanchez and could become the full-time first baseman. In addition, this solidifies Lucas Duda's hold on the role in NY.
News: Sanchez belted his third homer of the year Thursday, ringing a shot off the left-field foul pole at PNC Park.
Impact: He's taken over the bulk of starts at first base with a hot streak. Sanchez is 2-for-11 with a homer against Friday starter Kyle Lohse. Until he cools off, look for the former Marlin to continue getting most of Pittsburgh's starts at first base.
Josh Harrison - #5 - Third Base - 5'8" - 200lbs
News: Harrison stroked a two-run, pinch-hit homer Thursday after going hitless in his first eight plate appearances of 2014.
Impact: The utility man will continue to sporadically come off of the bench, although Thursday's effort could help him see more playing time in the short run.
News: Morris, who threw a scoreless relief inning Thursday against Milwaukee, has seen an increase of velocity thus far in 2014.
Impact: Morris' fastball has averaged 95.2 mph after sitting below 94 mph in two previous seasons. He's shown the liveliest stuff out of Pittsburgh's pen and could have the opportunity to take on a more prominent role at some point.
News: Mercer raised his batting average to .200 Thursday, going 2-for-4 against Milwaukee.
Impact: The two-hit game was his first since the second game of the season. Mercer has been trending down, but Thursday's strong showing at the plate and in the field could be the start of a turnaround. The Pirates have few internal options to replace him, aside from Clint Barmes.
News: Tabata (head) smacked a pinch-hit double Thursday against the Brewers.
Impact: In the aftermath of a Wednesday collision with the left field fence in Cincinnati, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said that Tabata did not suffer a concussion after the outfielder passed all of the team's testings. Tabata is batting .467 (14-for-30) against Friday starter Kyle Lohse, and will almost surely be in the lineup.
News: Volquez's surprising 2014 start continued Thursday, thanks to control which allowed him to throw 53 of 77 pitches for strikes, face only one three-ball count and retire 20 batters on three pitches or less, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Impact: Perhaps the biggest change is Volquez's 1.71 BB/9 rate, especially considering his career mark of 4.68 BB/9. He's also throwing his curveball more often, using it 30.3 percent of the time -- higher than his nine-year average (17.8 percent). The pitcher with a 6.01 ERA (4.21 FIP) in 142.1 innings for San Diego in 2013 is off to a terrific start.
News: Tabata (head) will be available off the bench Thursday against the Brewers, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Impact: Tabata was forced to leave Wednesday's game against the Reds after making a highlight-reel catch before crashing into the outfield wall. He seemed to be a bit shaken up but walked off the field under his own power. His presence on the bench would seem to suggest that a concussion has been ruled out.
News: Martin will move up to second in the batting order Thursday against Milwaukee.
Impact: The catcher hit fifth in the lineup for each of his 10 previous appearances in 2014. Martin is 3-for-12 with three walks against Brewers' starter, Yovani Gallardo. He returns to the lineup after sitting out Wednesday afternoon's tilt in Cincinnati.
News: Marte is back in the leadoff spot Thursday against Yovani Gallardo and the Brewers.
Impact: The Pirates wanted to give Marte the day off Wednesday, but he came in to replace an injured Jose Tabata. Marte has three hits, including two doubles, in 14 career at-bats against Gallardo. He's struck out 18 times in his last 10 games.
News: Marte went 2-for-4 with a walk, three runs scored and pair of steals in Thursday's win over Milwaukee. He also struck out once.
Impact: Marte is a dangerous hitter atop Pittsburgh's lineup, but he continues to strike out at an alarming rate, with 25 Ks in just 64 at-bats. If Marte could improve upon that strikeout rate just a little, it would obviously make him more of an effective player, both in real terms and from a fantasy perspective.
News: Alvarez went 2-for-3 with a three-run homer and pair of walks in Thursday's win against Milwaukee.
Impact: Alvarez's three-run blast in the eighth inning was his sixth long ball of the year. Although he's hitting just .186 this season, his strikeout rate is down and his walk rate is up, so it's reasonable to assume that his batting average will start to rise.
News: McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs during Thursday's win against Milwaukee.
Impact: McCutchen has gotten off to a slow start, but it's only a matter of time before he goes on a hot streak. Perhaps this is the start of one.
News: Volquez allowed two runs and eight hits in seven innings to earn his first win of the season Thursday. He walked one and struck out three.
Impact: Volquez isn't striking out as many batters as we're accustomed to seeing (13 Ks in 21 innings), but he's been very effective in three starts, posting 1.71 ERA. Pittsburgh has worked wonders with other starting pitcher castoffs before, so it wouldn't be unprecedented for Volquez to have a nice season.
News: Tabata was helped off the field on Wednesday after he slammed into the outfield wall while making a catch in the fifth inning.
Impact: Tabata caught up with Brayan Pena's fly ball just in front of the wall and turned at the last moment, hitting the wall hard with his left side. He fell to the ground, held up his glove to show he still had the ball and remained down for several minutes. Tabata walked off the field slowly and had to be helped down the steps to the clubhouse. Starling Marte replaced him in left field.
News: Tabata will be evaluated Thursday, after experiencing mild concussion-like symptoms following a crash into the outfield fence Wednesday, and manager Clint Hurdle has not said who would replace Tabata if he went to the DL, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Impact: A 7-DL stint for Tabata is a possibility, but we won't know until Thursday if he'll miss time following Wednesday's intense crash. Travis Snider will obviously get the bulk of the at-bats in the short term if Tabata has to sit, but fantasy owners can certainly dream on Gregory Polanco.
News: Cole suffered his first fantasy loss Tuesday.
Impact: Cole had won his last six starts but allowed five runs in six innings and will face the Brewers in his next outing.
News: Tabata experienced mild concussion-like symptoms following his crash into the outfield wall Wednesday at Cincinnati.
Impact: Tabata's apparent wooziness after the play has been substantiated, and his availability will likely remain in question for the remainder of the week. While he was starting in left field Wednesday, he typically mans right, which will likely be held down by Travis Snider as long as Tabata is sidelined.
News: Marte is 2 for 9 with six strikeouts in the first two games of a series vs. the Reds.
Impact: Marte has struck out 23 times - one behind former Pirate Garrett Jones for the highest total in the majors.
News: Sanchez is 4 for 8 with two homers in the first two games of a series vs. the Reds.
Impact: Sanchez is not known for power but a 1.064 OPS indicates that his time may be now. Let's see if he can keep it up.
News: Walker is 5 for 9 with three homers in the first two games of a series vs. the Reds.
Impact: Walker is starting to tear the cover off the baseball. His OPS is .892.
News: McCutchen is 4 for 9 in the first two games of a series vs. the Reds.
Impact: McCutchen has hit safely in four straight after starting off slow with a .194 average.
News: Rodriguez was awful Monday.
Impact: Rodriguez gave up six runs over five innings, allowing three homers. He will try to do better this weekend against the Brewers.
News: Tabata (shoulder/head) was removed from Wednesday's game in Cincinnati after crashing into the wall in left-center field, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
Impact: Tabata appeared quite woozy after the spectacular catch, with his shoulder and perhaps head making contact with the fence. A head injury may be at play here, placing his immediate viability in question, with a concussion possible. Following his removal, Starling Marte took Tabata's place in left field.
News: Martin is not in Wednesday's lineup against the Reds.
Impact: Martin caught a combined 11 innings Tuesday, including the suspended contest. He has three hits in his last 17 at-bats and is 1-for-11 against Reds starter, Johnny Cueto -- though he's hit him well in the playoffs.
News: Sanchez will start behind the plate Wednesday against the Reds.
Impact: Sanchez is likely making one of his last starts before the Bucs send him back to Triple-A. Backup catcher Chris Stewart is expected to come off the DL shortly. Sanchez has five hits in 15 at-bats thus far, but has had some problems defensively. He's never faced Cincinnati starter Johnny Cueto before.
News: Tabata will make his fifth start of the season Wednesday afternoon against Cincinnati.
Impact: Tabata, who will give Starling Marte a day off in left field, has five hits in 26 at-bats in 2014. He hasn't had much success against Wednesday's starter Johnny Cueto, going 0-for-8 with a strikeout.
News: Ishikawa is not in the lineup for Wednesday's game against the Reds, according to the Reds' Jamie Ramsey.
Impact: Ishikawa will sit out in favor of Gaby Sanchez for the third straight game, despite the fact that a right-hander has started on the mound in each contest. Sanchez has four hits over his last two games, so it remains to be seen if manager Clint Hurdle is simply playing the hot hand, or if Sanchez has earned a bigger share of the first base playing time.
News: Marte is not in the lineup for Wednesday's game against the Reds, according to the Reds' Jamie Ramsey.
Impact: Manager Clint Hurdle picked Wednesday for Marte's first day off of the season with the Pirates playing an early afternoon game and facing tough right-hander Johnny Cueto. Marte already has piled up 23 strikeouts on the season -- second-most in the National League -- and can probably benefit from the rest. Jose Tabata will get the start in left field in Marte's place.
News: McCutchen went 1-for-4 with a walk Tuesday against the Reds.
Impact: He appeared to wrench his back during his first at-bat but then hit a double down the left-field line on the next pitch. McCutchen, who has yet to go deep, has already dealt with an ankle injury. The center fielder has never played in fewer than 154 games in four full seasons.
News: A day after smacking a pair of homers against a right-handed pitcher, Sanchez went 2-for-4 with an RBI double against righty Mike Leake on Tuesday.
Impact: The first baseman is in the zone right now. Who knows how long his hot streak will last, but there's little doubt he'll be in the lineup in the rubber game of the series. Sanchez has two doubles in seven at-bats against Wednesday's starter for the Reds, Johnny Cueto.
News: Marte went hitless in four at-bats with three strikeouts Tuesday.
Impact: He made a shoestring, back-handed catch to keep Pittsburgh in the game, but his plate discipline has fallen off. The leadoff hitting Marte has struck out 10 times without a walk the past five games.
News: Alvarez snapped an 0-for-16 slide Tuesday, going 1-for-3 with two runs scored and his second stolen base of the season.
Impact: The third baseman has just six career steals to his name, a bonus to fantasy owners. Alvarez has five singles in 18 career at-bats against Wednesday afternoon starter Johnny Cueto.
News: Walker belted his third homer in two days Tuesday against the Reds, going 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBI.
Impact: The Pirates second baseman hit his dinger from the right side, the weaker side for the switch hitter. In fact, Walker's right-handed homer was just the fifth of his career and first since 2011, when he went deep against current teammate, Wandy Rodriguez. Going back to September of 2013, Walker now has 11 home runs in his last 23 contests.
News: Cole surrendered five earned runs on nine hits and three walks in six innings Tuesday against Cincinnati. He struck out three batters.
Impact: Cole didn't have his best stuff, allowing two home runs, including one to his mound opponent, Mike Leake. Pittsburgh likely stayed with the righty, who threw 62 of his 98 pitches for strikes, longer than it would with a struggling starter because of an over-taxed bullpen. The loss snapped a six-game, regular-season winning streak for the talented 23-year-old.
News: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle sounded concerned by Rodriguez's diminished velocity in his first three starts. "Sixteen innings, five home runs," Hurdle told the Pirates' website. "It's a challenging time for him, but I'm not going to run to answers right away, because I've seen three outings and his velocity is down a tick."
Impact: The southpaw's average fastball sits at 87.5 mph in 2014. For his career, Rodriguez has maintained a fastball somewhere between 88.9 mph (2007, 2008) and 90.2 mph (2009). Hurdle believes the cold weather could be affecting Rodriguez in the early going. "When we get to warmer weather, he might get more acute focus, which is what we're looking for," Hurdle said. "You've got a pitcher from Latin America [the Dominican Republic] pitching in April, wet and chilly." Fantasy owners might want to wait on Rodriguez until he shows signs of heating up.
Clint Barmes - #12 - Short Stop - 6'1" - 200lbs
News: Barmes is in the lineup Monday against the Reds.
Impact: Barmes will replace Jordy Mercer and make his third start of the season, batting eighth in the order and taking over at shortstop. Mercer is off to a relatively cool start to the season, so Barmes will step in and give him a day of rest.
News: Mercer is not in the lineup Monday against the Reds.
Impact: Mercer has started at shortstop in 10 of the Pirates' first 12 games, but will give way to Clint Barmes on Monday. Mercer is off to a slow start this season, posting a .143 average with zero extra-base hits, so manager Clint Hurdle likely made the temporary switch in hopes of getting the Pirates' bats going.
News: Walker has two homers in Monday's suspended game against the Reds. That game will be completed Tuesday at 5:30 ET.
Impact: The Reds and Pirates combined for 10 homers so far in this game, already breaking the Great American Ballpark record, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
News: Stewart (knee) caught a full game for Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday and may join the Pirates as soon as Thursday, the team's official site reports.
Impact: Once activated, Stewart will take over for Tony Sanchez as the No. 2 catcher behind Russell Martin. As a defensive-minded backstop, Stewart is unlikely to provide much fantasy value in the one or two starts he gets per week.
News: Sanchez is in the lineup Monday against a right-handed pitcher for the second time in 2014.
Impact: He'll bat seventh in Cincinnati against Homer Bailey. Sanchez holds a career .286 (4-for-14) batting average against the Reds' pitcher. A strong game Monday could earn him more playing time given that Travis Ishikawa has cooled off at the plate.
Sun. Apr 13, 2014 | STATS
News: Volquez went without a decision again in his second start for the Pirates, surrendering two runs - one earned - and four hits over 6 1-3 innings Saturday against Milwaukee.
Impact: Volquez owns a 1.50 ERA through his first two starts for Pittsburgh.
Sun. Apr 13, 2014 | STATS
News: McCutchen was 2 for 4 with a double Saturday against Milwaukee.
Impact: McCutchen had been hitless over 10 at-bats in his previous three games and is hitting just .225 through 11 games, though he's drawn 11 walks. It's safe to say he probably won't draw 162 walks, but he certainly is on pace for more than the 78 he drew in 157 games in 2013.
News: The Pirates could send Sanchez back to Triple-A within the next week or two when Chris Stewart (knee) completes his rehab stint.
Impact: Sanchez, who is batting .333 (5-for-15), has come up with a couple of timely hits but has played poorly behind the plate. A Sanchez throwing error cost the Bucs two runs Sunday.
News: Mercer committed his second error of the season Sunday and went 0-for-3 against Milwaukee. He has just three hits in his last 27 at-bats.
Impact: The Pirates pretty much gave Mercer the starting reigns at shortstop heading into 2014, but if he doesn't start showing something soon, he could lose playing time. Sunday's error was 100 percent mental and manager Clint Hurdle is unlikely to quietly stand by. Fortunately for Mercer, Clint Barmes is the only other regular shortstop on the roster.
News: McCutchen described his ankle injury as one of the nagging - albeit non-serious - variety. "It's like when you wake up one day and it's like, Aw, my back is hurting,' and then you wake up the next and your back's not hurting," McCutchen told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "It's just one of those things. It's not going to hinder me at all."
Impact: McCutchen completed Sunday's game without incident, going 1-for-3 with a sacrifice fly. He should be fine to keep active for Week 3. Cutch is batting a career .297 (11-for-37) with four stolen bases against Monday's opposing starter, Homer Bailey.
News: Alvarez had a rough weekend series in Milwaukee, going 0-for-10 with five strikeouts (and two walks).
Impact: He struck out looking on three straight pitches in the seventh inning and then whiffed to end the game Sunday. Alvarez did hit one to the left field wall in his first at-bat. He'll face Homer Bailey on Monday, against whom he has three hits and two homers in 20 career at-bats.
News: Ishikawa went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts Sunday, lowering his batting average to .226.
Impact: The first baseman has cooled off a bit, collecting just two hits in his last 14 at-bats and five starts. It wouldn't be surprising to see Gaby Sanchez take some of his starts against right-handed pitching in the coming week.
News: Morton was dealt his first loss of the season Sunday, allowing six hits, four runs (two earned) and three walks with three strikeouts over seven innings.
Impact: Morton's command was a bit off Sunday, as he threw just 61 of 95 pitches for strikes while issuing four walks. He didn't catch any breaks from his defense either though, as a throwing error by Tony Sanchez allowed two runs to cross in the bottom of the sixth. It wouldn't have mattered in the end however, as the Pirates only gave him one run of support. Morton will get another shot at Kyle Lohse and the Brewers his next time out on April 18.
News: DavisDavis, who went 0-for-4 with a pair of walks as the first baseman Saturday, is out of the lineup Sunday with C.J. Wilson on the hill, ESPN New York reports.
Impact: With a lefty going, the Mets have opted to load their lineup with mainly righties, with Daniel Murphy and Curtis Granderson the only left-handed hitters starting. The Mets are next headed to Arizona and obviously no DH, so Davis may only see pinch-hitting duty in that series.
News: McCutchen (ankle) is in the Pirates' lineup Saturday in Milwaukee, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Impact: Despite emerging from Friday's game with discomfort in his left ankle, it's business as usual Saturday for McCutchen, who is taking on center field and batting third in the order. He'll attempt to break out of an 0-for-10 blip on the radar, though he boasts a 3:4 BB:K and two stolen bases during that brief span.
News: After leaving Friday's game with pain in his ankle, McCutchen returned Saturday with a 2-for-4 performance against the Brewers.
Impact: McCutchen's pair of hits, including a double, off Yovani Gallardo were his first hits in 10 at-bats, so it's nice to see one of the league's best hitters get back on track after a mild slump and injury scare. On the season, McCutchen now owns a .225 average and has yet to homer in 11 games, but he should heat up soon enough.
Sat. Apr 12, 2014 | STATS
News: McCutchen is back in the Pittsburgh Pirates' lineup against the Milwaukee Brewers after coming out of Friday night's game with a sore ankle.
Impact: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle says the 2013 NL MVP tested his left ankle before the game Saturday night. Hurdle says McCutchen hit in the batting cage and was re-examined by a doctor, and the center fielder was comfortable and confident he could play.
News: Volquez was solid in a no-decision Saturday, tossing 6.1 innings of four-hit, two-run ball against the Brewers. He also walked two and struck out four in the 3-2 loss.
Impact: Playing for his fifth team in 11 seasons, Volquez has pitched well in two starts for the Pirates. In 14 innings thus far, he's fanned 10, while allowing just two earned runs and three free passes for a terrific 1.29 ERA and 0.79 WHIP. He'll see the same Brewers in his next start Thursday, so you may want to consider picking him up in the meantime.
News: Liriano struck out seven batters over six innings Friday against the Brewers, but fell to 0-2 on the season after he was outdueled by opposing starter Wily Peralta.
Impact: Liriano's biggest issue was the long ball Friday, as two of the four hits he served up were home runs. He otherwise looked the part of an ace and will be considered as such by the Pirates so long as he's healthy.
News: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said McCutchen left Friday's game after the center fielder told Hurdle he had discomfort in his left ankle, Root Sports in Pittsburgh reports.
Impact: "He came to me after the last at-bat and said 'I think I did something to my ankle,'" Hurdle said. The Pirates manager said he had no other information on the team's All-Star outfielder.
News: Walker clubbed a two-run homer Friday in Milwaukee, his first dinger since an Opening-Day walk-off winner.
Impact: He went 2-for-4 against the Brewers and is hitting .256 after 10 games. Walker does have two hits in six at-bats as a right-handed batter, something he has to do well or face the possibility of a platoon.
News: Morris threw two scoreless innings against the Brewers on Friday, allowing two hits and no walks while striking out three.
Impact: He added a two-seam fastball over the winter and the results have been striking. Morris compiled a 4:0 GO/FO ratio Friday and is off to an electric start. The righty likely will have to wait for injuries before moving into a late-inning role, however.
News: Liriano allowed four earned runs in six innings Friday, giving up four hits (including two homers) and two walks while striking out seven.
Impact: He started the game with three perfect innings before surrendering a two-run dinger to Aramis Ramirez in the fourth. Liriano's changeup and slider proved to be effective, but a fastball sitting 91-92 mph didn't fool many Milwaukee batters.
News: McCutchen left Friday's game with discomfort in his left ankle, according to Root Sports in Pittsburgh.
Impact: He fouled a ball off his ankle Thursday afternoon in Wrigley Field.
News: McCutchen left Friday's game after the eight innings with an undisclosed injury.
Impact: With the score, 4-2, he lined sharply to third base to end the eighth and then did not take the field in the bottom of the inning. Speculation is that he tweaked a knee. McCutchen did provide his first two stolen bases of the season before exiting.
Fri. Apr 11, 2014 | STATS
News: Cole fanned 10 over six innings in a 5-4 win against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.
Impact: Cole (2-0, 3.46 ERA) also allowed four runs - three earned - along with five hits and two walks.
Fri. Apr 11, 2014 | STATS
News: Alvarez hit a three-run homer to cap a five-run seventh inning, which gave the Pittsburgh Pirates a 5-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.
Impact: Alvarez is tied for the major league lead with five homers after his third in two games. He has seven of his 10 RBIs in the last three contests.
Jeff Locke - #49 - Pitcher - 6'0" - 185lbs
News: Locke was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list Friday, and immediately optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis, MLB.com's Tom Singer reports.
Impact: Locke had an impressive rehab start for High-A Bradenton on Thursday, but won't be immediately rejoining the Pirates' rotation in the big leagues. After his second-half collapse last season, the Pirates likely want to see him prove his effectiveness in a few more minor league starts before turning to him when a rotation spot opens.
News: Alvarez belted a go-ahead three-run homer Thursday, giving him three homers and seven RBI in his last two games.
Impact: He's tied for the NL lead in home runs with five. Perhaps more impressive is his 6:6 BB:K ratio in the early going -- especially after a 48:186 ratio in 2013. If Alvarez can maintain his plate discipline -- something he's never been able to do before -- then even better things lie ahead for the reigning National League home run champion.
News: McCutchen struck out three times Thursday, going hitless in three at-bats while walking twice against the Cubs.
Impact: The center fielder, who has never walked more than 89 times in his career, leads the NL with 10 walks in nine games. He's still looking for his first homer after an impressive spring training. McCutchen went 1-for-3 with a dinger against Friday starter, Wily Peralta, in 2013.
News: Sanchez went 0-for-3 with a walk in his second start of the season Thursday against the Cubs.
Impact: He's 2-for-11 with a 2:3 BB:K ratio in the early going. Sanchez will likely return to a bench role Friday with the Brewers starting the right-handing pitching, Wily Peralta.
News: Snider keyed Pittsburgh's comeback Thursday with a pinch-hit, two-run homer against the Cubs.
Impact: Snider, who has homered in back-to-back games, continues to earn playing time in the Pirates' outfield. The lefty has responded well thus far to the looming threat of super prospect, Gregory Polanco, waiting in the wings for a mid-June call-up.
News: Although Grilli walked two batters and allowed a hit, he recorded his third save in Pittsburgh's last four games Thursday.
Impact: He threw 27 pitches (including 14 strikes) before setting down the Cubs in a scoreless inning. On the positive side, he struck out two batters on swinging strikes after whiffing just one hitter over his first four outings.
Thu. Apr 10, 2014 | STATS
News: Martin and Pedro Alvarez each homered twice Wednesday but the Pittsburgh Pirates fell 7-5 at the Chicago Cubs.
Impact: It was the first two homers of the season for Martin, who is batting .292 and has six RBIs during a four-game streak.
Thu. Apr 10, 2014 | STATS
News: Alvarez and Russell Martin each homered twice Wednesday but the Pittsburgh Pirates fell 7-5 at the Chicago Cubs.
Impact: Alvarez, who has hit 30-plus homers in back-to-back seasons, had his first two of the season in a 12-2 win over St. Louis on April 4.
News: Cole struck out 10 batters, but was charged with four runs (three earned) over six innings Thursday against the Cubs. He allowed five hits and two walks.
Impact: It was the fourth inning that really hurt Cole in this one, as he allowed all three of his earned runs in that frame. He came a bit undone after allowing hits to three of the first four batters in the inning, throwing a run-scoring wild pitch and hitting a batter. Still, he was able to settle down and deliver a line that won't leave his fantasy owners hurting.
News: Sanchez will make his second start of the year at first base Thursday afternoon.
Impact: The Cubs are starting the left-handed Travis Wood, giving Sanchez an opportunity to do more than come off the bench. The first baseman went 0-for-5 with two walks and a hits batsman against Wood in 2013.
News: Martin is not in the starting lineup Thursday against the Cubs.
Impact: Fresh off a two-homer game Wednesday night, Martin will sit Thursday afternoon as Tony Sanchez steps in behind the dish. He'll likely be available off the bench and back in the lineup Friday.
News: Mercer is not in the starting lineup Thursday against the Cubs.
Impact: Mercer will sit for the second time this season, as Clint Barmes takes over at short and bats eighth against left-hander Travis Wood. The 27-year-old Mercer has just one hit in his last four games (1-for-12) and is batting .154 on the season.
News: Snider smoked his first home run of the year Wednesday against the Cubs.
Impact: The long ball was his first extra-base hit in eight games. Snider has seen steady at-bats with Pittsburgh facing a steady diet of right-handed pitching. He entered Wednesday with a .333 OPS as the Pirates are interested in seeing if he can maintain strong on-base numbers.
News: Martin belted a pair of line-drive homers to left-center field Wednesday night against the Cubs.
Impact: He hit two of Pittsburgh's five solo home runs on a night in which the Bucs didn't have a runner in scoring position. Martin is healthy right now and fantasy owners are benefiting.
News: Alvarez hit his third and fourth home runs of the season Wednesday night in Wrigley Field.
Impact: His first dinger went to left field and his second to center as the third baseman continues to use the entire field. Alvarez hit four home runs in all of April in 2013. Any semblance of improved plate discipline could boost his numbers across the board.
News: Rodriguez allowed four earned runs on nine hits and three walks in five innings Wednesday, striking out six Cubs' batters.
Impact: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was nonetheless encouraged by his lefty's outing. "The line doesn't look as good as what we think we saw," Hurdle told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. ""You've got to remember how long he's been away from the mound. He needs innings. You can pitch all you want in spring training, it's not the same beast as (in the season)." Rodriguez has been touched up for three dingers in his first two starts, but does have 11 strikeouts in as many innings.
News: Davis will start at first base on Thursday, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports.
Impact: Davis has been used as a pinch hitter in the Mets' previous two contests, but will get his turn at first base Thursday against the Braves. Manager Terry Collins will give Lucas Duda a day off, and use Davis against righty David Hale.
News: Morton did not get a decision Tuesday.
Impact: Morton have up five runs in six innings and faces the Brewers and disgraced slugger Ryan Braun next.
News: Alvarez had a homer Tuesday.
Impact: Alvarez is hitting .192 but his .802 OPS shows how overrated batting average can be. He's still a feared slugger who can make pitchers cringe.
News: Marte scored three runs Tuesday.
Impact: Marte has hit safely in nine straight at Wrigley Field (15 for 36) and has stolen 11 bases. Start him up Wednesday versus Jason Hammel.
Jeff Locke - #49 - Pitcher - 6'0" - 185lbs
News: Locke (oblique) went six innings, giving up five hits and two earned runs with a walk and 10 strikeouts Wednesday in a rehab start for High-A Bradenton, the Pittsburgh Tribune's Rob Biertempfel reports.
Impact: Locke was dominant, as one would expect him to be at a lower level, throwing 59 of his 82 pitches for strikes. Considering how many pitches he threw, and how impressive his numbers were, we would expect him to join the big league club very soon, potentially taking a rotation spot from Edinson Volquez.
News: McCutchen reached base four times Tuesday, going 2-for-3 with a pair of walks against the Cubs.
Impact: McCutchen has already walked eight times in the season's first seven games, though he's yet to homer or steal a base. He'll get another to improve upon his stats Wednesday at Wrigley, where the center fielder holds a .373/.488/.567 line with 10 stolen bases in 134 at-bats.
News: Martin went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI against the Cubs on Tuesday.
Impact: He lifted an opposite-field sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. In 2013, Martin collected just one hit in 12 bases-loaded at-bats.
News: Grilli earned his second save of the season Tuesday, striking out one batter in a scoreless inning against the Cubs.
Impact: After blowing a save against Chicago on April 2, Grilli has rebounded with saves in both of his last two appearances. He has struck out just one batter in four innings, however, after striking out 74 in 50 IP last season -- something to keep an eye on.
News: Ishikawa started for the sixth time in seven games against a right-handed hurler Tuesday, going 1-for-4 with a triple and two RBI.
Impact: He'll continue to see plenty of at-bats while he remains hot at the plate. Ishikawa went 0-for-2 last Thursday against the Cubs' Jason Hammel, who is expected to start Wednesday for Chicago.
News: Marte has five walks in seven games after totaling 25 in 135 games in 2013.
Impact: While he's never going to be a bastion of plate discipline, any improvements could lead to increases in runs scored and stolen bases. Marte holds a 5:9 BB:K ratio after compiling a 2:19 mark in the early going a year ago.
Tony Watson - #44 - Pitcher - 6'4" - 227lbs
News: Watson saw his string of 25 consecutive scoreless outings end Tuesday, but he picked up the win despite allowing a run in one inning against the Cubs.
Impact: The lefty has recorded victories in both of his two most recent outings. Typically, Watson is good for holds -- he had 22 in 2013 -- but little else in counting categories.
News: Marte went 1-for-3 with three runs, a double and two walks Tuesday against the Cubs.
Impact: He also recorded his first two steals of the season, which was his most valuable asset in 2013. Despite coming into action Tuesday without a stolen base, Marte had been having a great year at the plate. His slash line now sits at an excellent .310/.429/.448.
News: Morton gave up five earned runs Tuesday on eight hits and one walk with five strikeouts in six innings against the Cubs.
Impact: He gave up a couple home runs (both to Starling Castro) which was his undoing in his follow-up effort after an excellent first start of the season. As is usually the case, Morton isn't as bad as he was Tuesday and he isn't as good as he was in his first start of 2014 when he tossed six shutout innings while striking out six. His lack of effectiveness could be due to the fact that he was facing the Cubs for his second start in a row, and they clearly had a better plan of attack the second time around. He will look to bounce back Sunday in Milwaukee.
Mon. Apr 7, 2014 | STATS
News: For his first start with the Pirates, Edinson Volquez beat Adam Wainwright. That'll do nicely as an early return on that offseason contract he signed with Pittsburgh.
Impact: Singed to a one-year, $5 million contract as a free agent in December, Volquez was sharp in his first start for the Pirates as he gave up one run and three hits in 5 2-3 innings with one walk and four strikeouts. That came after Volquez pitched two scoreless innings of relief Thursday against the Chicago Cubs.
Jameson Taillon - #77 - Pitcher -
Sun. Apr 6, 2014 | STATS
News: Taillon has undergone Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. The procedure was performed Wednesday in New York by Dr. David Altchek. Taillon is expected to miss 12 to 18 months.
Impact: Taillon, 22, began feeling pain in his elbow with two weeks remaining in spring training after being assigned by the Pirates to their minor league camp. Doctors prescribed two weeks of rest, but Taillon again felt pain when he tried to throw again. While Taillon does not have a fully torn ligament, Altchek felt it was compromised to the point where surgery was necessary.
Sun. Apr 6, 2014 | STATS
News: Davis hit a game-ending grand slam and the New York Mets were aided by a favorable ninth-inning replay review in rallying to beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-3 on Saturday.
Impact: Davis, having lost his starting first base job to Lucas Duda a day earlier, was called on to hit in the pitcher's spot and lined a 0-1 pitch to right field, setting off a gleeful celebration at Citi Field.
News: McCutchen was 2 for 5 with a triple and two RBIs in Friday's win over the Cardinals.
Impact: Owners were relieved to see Friday's performance after he went 1 for 10 in his first three games.
News: Alvarez hit his first two homers of the season in Friday's win over St. Louis.
Impact: It was the eighth multihomer game of Alvarez's career. Though he hit a career-high 36 in 2013, he only hit two home runs once.
News: Cole was strong in his first outing of the season, limiting the Cardinals to two runs and six hits over seven innings in Friday's 12-2 victory.
Impact: Both the runs against Cole came on Matt Carpenter's fifth-inning homer.
Thu. Apr 3, 2014 | STATS
News: In a game that took 5 hours, 55 minutes, pinch-hitter Tony Sanchez singled in the winning run in the bottom of the 16th inning to give the Pirates a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night - the longest game in Pittsburgh history by time.
Impact: Sanchez's hit came off Carlos Villanueva (0-2), ending the game just short of 1 a.m. and six minutes longer the Pirates' 8-7, 18-inning victory over Houston on May 27, 2006, that took 5:49.