Thursday’s scouting report: Pirates at Diamondbacks
Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt shared the league HR crown last season, but he’s also a doubles machine. Entering Wednesday’s games, Goldschmidt led the majors with 39 two-baggers. Goldschmidt, who had 43 doubles in 2012, is on the verge of becoming the second Arizona player with multiple 40-double seasons. Luis Gonzalez did it four times.
• Entering Wednesday, Jordy Mercer’s .300 batting average since May 31 was second highest among NL shortstops behind the Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki (.315). In that span, Mercer’s 27 RBIs rank third among major league shortstops behind the Nationals’ Ian Desmond (30) and the Cubs’ Starlin Castro (29). Mercer is batting .319 against left-handers this season and .350 against them in his career.
The Pirates’ interest in Red Sox LHP Jon Lester is an indication they believe RHP Gerrit Cole will overcome his lat injury. A possible Cole-Lester combo could be deadly down the stretch. Cole will remain with Triple-A Indianapolis this week instead of rejoining the Pirates in Arizona to throw his between-starts bullpen session. Cole will make his second rehab start Saturday vs. Toledo and likely will be activated Aug. 7 or 8.