Before anything else today, I want to redirect you to Jerry Crasnick’s piece about the Pirates’ coaching staff, their approach for helped wayward pitchers, and how they’ve tried to tackle Edinson Volquez this winter. I think that a lot of us, myself included at times, tended to chalk the Volquez signing up to borderline hubris on the part of the Pirates’ front office and coaching staff: We’ve fixed other guys and we’ll fix this guy, too. Crasnick’s article makes it clear that that’s a really unfair characterization. The Pirates signed Volquez because they did their homework on him, and because they thought they could help him get back to where he was. They clearly still think that.
All of that being said, Neal Huntington more or less says in the article that they’re not sure Volquez is quite ready yet, and that this season could get off to a rough start for him. He looked really good out of the bullpen against the Cubs on Thursday and honestly, that alone made me a little more hopeful about his upcoming season than I had been. I still don’t thin I’m even comfortable with saying that I’m “cautiously optimistic” about him at this point; what worries me is that the Pirates obviously feel like they don’t have a better option than a maybe-he’s-ready-maybe-he’s-not Edinson Volquez. There are no guarantees here. While I don’t think he’s as certain to be a disaster as a large part of the Pirates’ fan base obviously does, I’d be shocked if it’s smooth-sailing from the get-go for Volquez.
Anyway, the Pirates need a win to take the series after last night’s 6-1 loss. After obliterating the Cardinals on Friday, last night the Cards looked like their 2013 selves again. They found holes and got hits with runners on base, and it seemed like almost every hard-hit ball the Bucs had off of Joe Kelly managed to go directly at someone, especially when someone was on base. Obviously it would’ve been nice to get a second win in this series before today’s Volquez/Adam Wainwright matchup.
Today’s first pitch is at 1:35.