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 starter 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.
Chris Stewart - #19 - Catcher - 6'4" - 210lbs
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.
Tony Sanchez - #26 - Catcher - 5'11" - 225lbs
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: 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.
Bryan Morris - #29 - Pitcher - 6'3" - 225lbs
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.
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.
Travis Snider - #23 - Right Field - 6'0" - 235lbs
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.
Jason Grilli - #39 - Pitcher - 6'4" - 233lbs
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.
Travis Snider - #23 - Right Field - 6'0" - 235lbs
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: 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.
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.
Jason Grilli - #39 - Pitcher - 6'4" - 233lbs
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.
Mon. Apr 7, 2014 | RotoWire
News: Volquez turned in a very solid 5.2 innings Sunday afternoon, giving up just one run on three hits while striking out four versus the Cardinals.
Impact: Though he did not factor in the decision, Volquez put up a strong effort in his first start of 2014. The Pirates signed the enigmatic hurler to a one-year, $5 million contract back in December and so far, so good. Volquez has a 1.17 ERA, 0.65 WHIP and a half-dozen strikeouts across his first 7.2 innings of the young campaign.
News: Locke (oblique) is scheduled to make a rehab appearance at High-A Bradenton on Wednesday, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Impact: Locke is expected to approach 100 pitches in the outing, a sign that he's very close to being ready to return from the DL. Once he's activated, Locke's role with the Pirates will remain in flux, with Edinson Volquez currently holding down the fifth spot in the rotation.
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.
News: Alvarez walked three times and lined out sharply to right field in his only official at-bat Saturday against St. Louis.
Impact: The three-walk performance was just Alvarez's fourth in parts of five big-league seasons. The Cardinals pitched around the third baseman after he ripped a pair of home runs Friday. Time will tell if Alvarez has improved upon his plate discipline or if he's simply in one of his patented hot stretches. Alvarez went 1-for-8 against Sunday starter, Adam Wainwright, in 2013, but homered off of the righty in the NLDS.
News: St. Louis touched up Liriano for four earned runs on seven hits and two walks in six innings Saturday.
Impact: A three-run, 33-pitch first inning doomed Liriano, who would go on to strike out four batters. The lefty had gotten the better of the Cardinals four straight times prior to Saturday's loss. He threw 105 pitches and wasn't hampered by the groin injury which bothered him late in spring training.
Jeanmar Gomez - #30 - Pitcher - 6'3" - 222lbs
News: Gomez gave up two earned runs in three innings Saturday against St. Louis, allowing one hit (a two-run Jhonny Peralta homer) and two walks while striking out three.
Impact: Gomez, who made the team because he can throw multiple innings out of the pen, has surrendered home runs in both of his relief outings. He's off to a slow start for the Bucs.
News: Volquez will make his first start for Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon against the Cardinals.
Impact: The right-hander went 1-1 with a 6.55 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in two starts (11 IP) against the Cardinals in 2013. Volquez struggled mightily during spring training, but threw two scoreless innings Thursday against the Cubs. He draws a tough matchup in Adam Wainwright on Sunday.
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.
News: Marte reached base four times Friday against the Cardinals, going 3-for-4 with a walk.
Impact: Marte benefited from the wind, turning a high flyball into a three-base hit off PNC Park's center-field wall. Surprisingly, he still has yet to attempt a stolen base, but that figures to change shortly. Marte shifted from left field to center in the ninth inning, possibly adding versatility eligibility in some leagues.
News: McCutchen went 2-for-5 with a two-run triple in Pittsburgh's 12-2 romp over St. Louis on Friday.
Impact: The center fielder also lined out sharply to right field with a couple runners on base, narrowly missing an even bigger night. McCutchen figures to see more pitches to hit over the weekend, given the impressive track record of Pedro Alvarez against the Cards hitting behind him in the order.
News: Ishikawa, who has started every game against right-handed pitching in 2014, hit his first big league homer in two years Friday.
Impact: Manager Clint Hurdle said that Gaby Sanchez would see more time at first base, even against righthanders, but so far that hasn't been the case. So long as Ishikawa continues to swing a hot stick, look for him to get the nod against righties, especially hard-throwing ones.
News: Alvarez's two home-run night Friday included both an opposite-field bomb and a rare homer off a Shelby Miller change-up, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Impact: Only three of Alvarez's league-leading homers in 2013 were of the opposite-field variety. In addition, the third baseman finished as the seventh-worst hitter against change-ups. Throw in the fact that Alvarez featured a .115 batting average in two-strike counts in 2013 -- both of his long balls came with two strikes Friday -- and it's easy to see how he managed the eighth multi-homer game of his career.
News: Cole was masterful, allowing just two runs on six hits, walking two and striking out three over seven innings of a 12-2 win over St. Louis on Friday night.
Impact: It was billed as a showdown between two of the National League brightest young pitchers, but it didn't turn out that way as the Pirates beat up on Shelby Miller while Cole coasted to an impressive win. The former number one pick, Cole was in control, allowing just a two-run home run to Matt Carpenter as the only damage done. He'll try to build on this first 2014 start with a favorable match-up against the Cubs in Chicago in his next scheduled start.
News: Alvarez went 2-for-4 with a couple of home runs, three RBI and three runs scored in Friday's 12-2 rout of the Cardinals.
Impact: After kicking off the season on a 1-for-15 clip, Alvarez's bat woke up on Friday night. The 2013 All-Star and Silver Slugger in known for his hot streaks, so this may be the start of one.
Stolmy Pimentel - #38 - Pitcher - 6'3" - 230lbs
News: Pimentel demonstrated his versatility against the Cubs, throwing four scoreless relief innings for his first major-league win Wednesday.
Impact: Pimentel had struggled as a starter above Double-A with Boston before coming to Pittsburgh before the start of 2013. There's a chance he could move into the rotation at some point this season, but for now he'll continue to prove himself as a bullpen arm.
News: McCutchen walked five times in three games, as the Cubs pitched around the NL MVP in the opening series.
Impact: McCutchen isn't seeing the juicy grapefruits he saw in spring training. He went just 1-for-10 against Chicago. Cutch has seen little protection from Pedro Alvarez, who also finished with only one hit in the three-game series.
News: Morton could start Sunday against St. Louis if Edinson Volquez, who threw two relief innings Thursday, is unable to go, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Impact: Volquez was expected to throw a bullpen Thursday, but instead took the mound against the Cubs. He only threw 28 pitches, making it likely Pittsburgh starts him against the Cardinals, but there's an outside chance Morton gets the nod. We should know which direction the Pirates take by the end of Friday.
News: The Pirates will wait until Friday before deciding whether Volquez starts Sunday against St. Louis, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The right-hander was pressed into relief duty Thursday.
Impact: Volquez threw 28 pitches and two innings of scoreless relief against the Cubs. If he can't go Sunday, then Charlie Morton would take the mound against the Cardinals.
Tony Sanchez - #26 - Catcher - 5'11" - 225lbs
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.
Thu. Apr 3, 2014 | RotoWire
News: Rodriguez (0-1) allowed three runs on five hits and a walk over six innings in his season-opening loss to the Cubs on Thursday. He struck out five.
Impact: Wandy struggled early, giving up a run in each of the first three innings, but settled down thereafter to notch a quality start. He's not the guy he used to be, especially in terms of strikeouts, but should remain a decent NL-only and deep-league starter.
Thu. Apr 3, 2014 | RotoWire
News: Martin is not in the starting lineup Thursday against the Cubs, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Impact: This is your typical day-game-after-night-game absence, so nothing out of the ordinary. Martin is 1-for-10 with a single and one strikeout through two games.
Tue. Apr 1, 2014 | STATS
News: Liriano struck out 10 and allowed four hits in six shutout innings against the Cubs on Monday.
Impact: Liriano is out to show his 2013 season - when he was 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA for Pittsburgh - wasn't a fluke and his career is in full-on renaissance mode.
Tue. Apr 1, 2014 | STATS
News: Walker's solo shot in the 10th gave Pittsburgh an Opening Day win over the Cubs on Monday.
Impact: Walker continued the late 2013 power surge that saw him end the season with six homers over his final nine games.
Sun. Mar 30, 2014 | STATS
News: Locke has been sent to the minors.
Impact: Locke began the season on the disabled list. The Pittsburgh Pirates left-hander has a strained muscle on his right side.