Playing twin bill, Matheny juggles lineups

Playing twin bill, Matheny juggles lineups

Playing twin bill, Matheny juggles lineups

PITTSBURGH -- Prioritizing rest for several of his starting position players, manager Mike Matheny will have at least four players start only one of Tuesday's pair of games.

Yadier Molina, David Freese and Allen Craig were left out of the Game 1 lineup. Tony Cruz drew the catching assignment, while Matt Adams slid in at first and Daniel Descalso over at third. Though Matheny did not reveal his lineup for the nightcap early in the afternoon, he did confirm that Carlos Beltran will not be starting the second game.

The decision to start Beltran in the first game was dictated by numbers. He has 11 hits in 36 at-bats against Pirates Game 1 starter A.J. Burnett. As for Molina, Matheny wanted to give him the few extra hours to recover from catching Monday night and therefore pushed his start to the later game.

"We're just working around keeping everybody as fresh as we can to have them for two tough games here," Matheny said.

For Craig, the brief break comes at a time when he's gone hitless in 18 consecutive at-bats. Before going five games without a hit, Craig had hit safely in 18 of 19 games and had not had a string of more than two straight hitless games all season.

"He's been so good all season long," Matheny said of Craig. "Any kind of blip stands out to us."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.