ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 30: James McDonald #53 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on April 30, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
7:05 p.m. The Pirates' lineup:
Heyooo! Pedro Alvarez bats cleanup, and Andrew McCutchen is back in the lineup. If you'd told Pirates fans four months ago that this would be their lineup on May 5, they would probably have guessed that the offense was going pretty well. And I suppose that, if you only count the last week or so, it is.
Alex Presley, who's been struggling the past several games, gets the night off. He's off to a poor start to the season, which has been a little lost due to the fact that he wasn't one of the guys who was really bad in the first couple weeks. He currently has a .584 OPS, though. Fortunately for Presley, Starling Marte probably needs a bit more time at Class AAA, and the only hitter at Indianapolis who's banging on the door is Jake Fox, who isn't really an outfielder. I'm not sure I see the Pirates going with today's McGehee/Jones alignment very often, either.
UPDATE: Clint Hurdle on Alvarez:
Hurdle said Alvarez simply ready to move up to cleanup, sees it as an arrival, not a trial situation.
Reds starter Mike Leake is coming off three straight bad outings, leading to buzz about him being demoted, so tonight might be a good opportunity for the Pirates' offense to make some noise. McDonald has looked great recently, too; these are tiny sample sizes, so who knows, but this looks like a winnable game.