The Pirates take a major league-best 31-14 home record in to today's game as they look to make it five in row at PNC Park at 1:35. The Bucs have won four in a row five times this season, but have yet to notch a fifth. Their last five-game winning streak was Sept. 17-22, 2010.
Believe it or not, the Pirates are only four games ahead of last year's pace at 53-40. Last year they were 49-44 after 93 games as we close in on the one-year anniversary of the Jerry Meals game. A victory today would be the Bucs fourth series sweep of the season. Also the Pirates are 20-4 in their last 24 at PNC and Jeff Karstens has allowed only one run in his two starts, totaling 14 innings, at home this season.
Rod Barajas has great career numbers against Sanchez, but he'll get a day off today in favor of Michael McKenry. Jordy Mercer, with extra base hits in his only at bats in each of the last two games, gets the start at short. Clint's card: