Martin's ability to play brings Bucs' lineup together
PITTSBURGH -- With Russell Martin convinced that his balky left hamstring won't keep him out of action and with a left-hander going for the Giants in Madison Bumgarner, the Pirates' starting lineup could write itself for Wednesday night's National League Wild Card Game at PNC Park (8 ET on ESPN).
Ike Davis has been battling a virus, but Gaby Sanchez would draw the start at first base against the southpaw anyway.
Neil Walker has evolved into the regular cleanup hitter against right-handers, but against lefties, he has been dropped lower in the order, with Martin moving into the No. 4 hole.
No one is as upwardly mobile versus southpaws as is Jordy Mercer, the shortstop who usually is kicked up from his home in the eighth spot to No. 2. The justification is Mercer's .314 average against left-handers.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has yet to announce his lineup, but here is MLB.com's projection:
1. Josh Harrison, 3B
2. Jordy Mercer, SS
3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
4. Russell Martin, C
5. Starling Marte, LF
6. Neil Walker, 2B
7. Gaby Sanchez, 1B
8. Travis Snider, RF
9. Edinson Volquez, SP