Pregame: Tabata, Presley Switch at the Top

Throughout spring training Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle shuffled the top of the order between Alex Presley and Jose Tabata several times based on matchups. It also carried into the season. Presley has been in the lineup card the most of the time batting leadoff (19), with Tabata (4) and Nate McLouth (1).

So far in 2012, Presley has hit for a .241 clip batting leadoff, with Tabata hitting .188 hitting first.

Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle is no stranger to shuffling around the lineup card.

Just a different look,” Hurdle said a few weeks ago on switching the top of the order. “Both of them have led off for us. Both of them have done well. We looked at this a few times during spring training…I think it’s something we have the opportunity to do more of if we need to, if it works, if it feels good.”

Presley hit leadoff in 43 games during the 2011 season. He hit for a .302/.347/.473 line in 182 at-bats — compared to a .258/.281/.419 line in 31 at-bats batting second.

 

  • Triple-A Infielder Nick Evans underwent surgery yesterday in Pittsburgh to repair his broken left hand. Evans sustained the injury on April 30th in the eight inning against Durham. Evans dove for the ball in fair territory and landed on his wrist. There is no current timetable for his return.
  • Despite a 12-3 loss to St. Louis last night, there was a few positives from the game. One being the continued solid pitching from the bullpen. They scattered five hits over 5.1 scoreless innings of work Wednesday night to lower their ERA to 2.83 on the season. The only two teams in the National League with a lower bullpen ERA are San Diego (2.56) and Cincinnati (2.69).
  • Right-hander Brad Lincoln took over for A.J. Burnett after he was chased after just 2.2 innings. Lincoln has been scored upon just once in his five appearances out of the bullpen (10.1 innings). He has allowed just six hits in 35 at bats (.171 average) this year in relief while posting an 0.87 ERA.
Pirates lineup vs. St. Louis:
Jose Tabata 9
Alex Presley 7
Andrew McCutchen 8
Neil Walker 4
Pedro Alvarez 5
Garrett Jones 3
Clint Barmes 6
Michael McKenry 2
Erik Bedard 1
  • Andrew McCutchen returns to the lineup after having the day off on Wednesday. McCutchen was the only Pirate to start each of the first 23 games. Since the beginning of last year McCutchen’s 181 games are tied for third in the Majors among center fielders behind Los Angeles’ Matt Kemp (186) and Atlanta’s Michael Bourn (183).
  • Pedro Alvarez continues to swing a hot bat and inch up closer to batting cleanup, the position he is pegged to stay should he become the player he is expected to be.  Alvarez has gone deep twice in his last three games and now has eight extra base hits since April 25, which is the most in the Majors in that time period. His 12 hits overall since last Wednesday are tied for the second-most in the Majors behind Ruben Tejada of the New York Mets (14).
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates will face right-hander Jake Westbrook in the final game of the three-game set before returning home tonight. They open up a 10 day nine game homestand starting on Friday. Westbrook has been thriving with his sinker so far in 2012, posting a 1.30 ERA. Westbrook has gone at least 6.2 innings in each of his first four starts with the Cardinals and has allowed two earned runs or fewer all four outings. The Pirates gave Westbrook his only loss of the season on April 21 at PNC Park, tacking two runs off him over 6.2 innings.
  • Lefty Erik Bedard has been solid for Pittsburgh so far this season. He picked up his first win as a bucco his last trip to the mound where he allowed one-run over 5.0 innings with a season-high nine whiff’s. Bedard went went seven innings and allowed three runs (two earned) with seven strikeouts in the loss to St. Louis on April 21 in Pittsburgh. Bedard has pitched at least 5.0 innings and allowed two earned runs or less in each of his first five starts as a member of the Pirates.
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