News: Locke tossed 5.2 scoreless innings against the Marlins on Tuesday to earn his third win of the season. He gave up four hits and four walks while striking out six.
Impact: The four walks were a season high, but the Marlins were unable to capitalize and Locke emerged with his first win since Apr. 18. While he did fall one out short of a quality start, needing 104 pitches to get through the 5.2 frames, Locke's strikeout rate is up more than a strikeout per nine innings from last year and he should have confidence heading into this weekend's matchup in San Diego.
News: Polanco is out of the lineup for Tuesday's game against the Marlins, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Impact: Polanco hasn't been getting many at-bats against southpaws, but it's a bit surprising to see him out of the lineup for a matchup with Marlins right-hander Jose Urena. While he owns an ugly .192/.302/.233 slash line in May, Polanco does have a 16:12 K:BB ratio for the month, along with five stolen bases. The Pirates aren't scheduled to face a lefty until June 7, although the Marlins have yet to announce a starter for Wednesday.
News: Melancon notched his sixth save since May 9 on Monday and saw an uptick in his velocity.
Impact: Melancon's cutter averaged 91.2 mph, sitting above 90 mph for just the third time in 21 games thus far in 2015. His stuff hasn't looked pretty at times, but the closer has allowed only one run in his last 14 outings covering 14.2 innings.
News: Mercer made his second straight start at shortstop Monday, going 2-for-3 against the Marlins.
Impact: In a sign that the team trusts Mercer's defense over Jung-Ho Kang's at shortstop, the fourth-year player started with ground-ball inducing pitcher, Charlie Morton, on the mound. In fact, Morton induced 16 ground outs to zero fly ball outs. Manager Clint Hurdle typically goes with the hot hand and Mercer appears to be heating up -- look for increased playing time in the near term.
News: Tuesday starter Jeff Locke will be looking to post back-to-back quality starts for the first time since his first two games of the season.
Impact: He beat the Marlins last August 6, limiting Florida to three earned runs in seven frames. He struck out seven and didn't allow a walk -- a huge key for the lefty. It might be wise for Locke to work around Giancarlo Stanton, who has two career dingers and is 6-for-12 against him.
News: Walker collected two hits Monday against the Marlins, breaking an 0-for-16 slide.
Impact: He struck out two more times, extending his streak for games with at least one strikeout to eight. Even so, he narrowly missed a homer -- settling for a double -- and appears set for a breakout.