Previewing Friday's Pirates-Cardinals game
The past two years, Cardinals reliever Trevor Rosenthal got batters to swing at more than one-third of the pitches he threw outside the strike zone. This season, however, Rosenthal's O-swing percentage (per Fangraphs) is 18.4 percent. Also, his Z-swing percentage (the rate batters swing at pitches in the zone) is up a couple of clicks to 67 percent. Batters are squaring up more often and connecting for a 23.5 percent line-drive rate, up from 19.3 percent last year.
• The ESPN “Fungoes” blog noted that in a April 23 start against the New York Mets, Michael Wacha needed fielders for just five of the 20 batters he faced. Wacha wiffed 10 batters and walked five. He did it all by himself in the second and third innings, striking out the side with a walk each time. Walks kept Wacha from pitching deeper into the game — he walked in two runs in the fourth inning, which put the Mets ahead to stay.
High-A Bradenton will give out 1,000 Rinku Singh bobbleheads at its game Saturday. Singh, a Pirates minor leaguer whose story is featured in the movie “Million Dollar Arm,” is depicted in a Bradenton jersey and cap. He last pitched for Low-A West Virginia in 2012 — but has never played for Bradenton.