If you saw Clint Hurdle’s comments about Pedro Alvarez after last night’s game, you probably expected some kind of roster move coming in the near future. It didn’t take long: the Pirates signed Jayson Nix today and sent Brent Morel back to Triple-A. If you want to read between the lines a little bit, you can probably assume that Nix has been signed to be the utility guy when Starling Marte returns early next week, which would imply that they need a utility guy, which would imply that Josh Harrison will be playing third base. Harrison is at third today, with Travis Snider in left field. After a few more bad throws last night, it’s pretty hard to justify Alvarez playing regularly at this point. I don’t know what the long-term solution is here, but with Josh Harrison on another tear and the Pirates closing down the gap in the NL Central, well, it’s obvious that Harrison should be playing over him at this point.
Nix is no great shakes (the Pirate are his third organization this year), but he’s definitely a serviceable Major League utility guy, which is more than you can say for the alternative options of Michael Martinez and Brent Morel. Those guys did what they could and have actually contributed a bit during this Diamondbacks series, but the Pirates will be better off when they’re both off the roster.
Of course, most of the focus during today’s game will be on the Pirates’ pitching staff after Randall Delgado nailed Andrew McCutchen square in the back with a 95 mph fastball in the ninth inning last night. It’s really difficult to overstate what a chickenshit move that was by the Diamondbacks, since it came late enough that the game was already over, and since nobody anywhere seems to think that Ernesto Frieri tried to hit Paul Goldschmidt on Friday night. I feel almost certain that the Pirates will do something to relatiliate today, though I really wish that they’d just focus on beating the tar out of the Diamondbacks today and leaving Arizona with the metaphorical middle fingers blazing. Any action the Pirates take today will result in a suspension, which will hurt their playoff push. Really, getting the Pirates to sink to their level was exactly what the Diamondbacks wanted last night. I know everyone’s bloodthirsty after incidents like last night, but this is by far my least favorite part of baseball.
Anyway, Francisco Liriano starts for the Pirates. Trevor Cahill starts for the Diamondbacks. Liriano is trending up lately. Cahill is terrible. Given last night’s events, I’d like to see about 17 Pirate runs up on the scoreboard, punctuated with a few Andrew McCutchen home runs. I’ll take a win of any sort, though; either the Cardinals or Brewers will have to lose today. A Pirate win gains them ground on somebody.
First pitch is at 4:10.