First things first: The Pirates and Reds will play 1 1/3 baseball games at Great American Ballpark tonight, starting at 5:30. The first game will be the resolution of last night’s homerfest, in which the Pirates and Reds combined to hit ten home runs in six innings, only to be tied at seven with the rains came. The Major League record for most home runs by both teams combined in one game is 12; this is certainly something to keep an eye on.
In the nightcap/regularly scheduled game, Gerrit Cole and Mike Leake will take the mound. That game is tentatively scheduled for around 7:10, and everyone will be wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson. Cole’s 2014 is off to an uneven but promising start. Depending on what happens in the final part of the first game, the Pirates may need a solid 6-7 innings out of Cole tonight (Bryan Morris was the only reliever used last night and wasn’t removed before the rain delay, which means there’s a good chance the game will resume with him on the mound in the bottom of the seventh — after that, who knows?).
As it currently stands, the Pirates are 6-6 after a disappointing weekend in Milwaukee. It’s hard to get terribly upset over a 6-6 start (this was how they started last year, too), but it seems to me like the rotation is sending up red flags all over right now. Wandy Rodriguez has looked really rough thus far, even if you put an asterisk on last night’s game as a weird GABP-caused anomaly. Francisco Liriano has looked pretty rough around the edges, too. Obviously it’s too early to draw conclusions, but the rotation stood out to me as the weak point early in the season and it still does after 12+ games.
Anyway, with an afternoon game tomorrow, the Pirates are going to complete three games in the next 24 hours. That 6-6 could turn into something much more or less palatable awfully quickly.