The Pirates play in their third home opener of the season this afternoon against the Giants, as both clubs look to shake off an ugly first week of the season and start moving towards something more positive. We all know about the Pirates’ inability to score runs, but the Giants’ problem is flipped from what you’d expect; they’re second in the NL with 33 runs scored so far, but they’ve allowed 36, which is 15th in the NL. Given their excellent pitching staff, that’s not at all what you’d expect from them, though we’re obviously still early enough in the season for small sample sizes to provide wonky results.
They go to Matt Cain for the opener today, which makes some sense since the club just made him the highest-paid right-handed pitcher in history. Cain doesn’t seem quite like the guy you’d expect for that honor — he’s good but I don’t think I’d call him great and he’s probably the third-best pitcher on his own team — but he’s a good pitcher nonetheless and so Clint Hurdle’s shuffled the lineup yet again in hopes of finding a combination that will somehow bring his teams some runs. Today, that shuffling brings us Josh Harrison at shortstop, Casey McGehee at first base, and Garrett Jones in right field. That means Jose Tabata and Clint Barmes are on the bench with the rest of the lineup looking how you’d expect it to look against a righty. James McDonald goes for the Bucs and will try to build on what was a pretty solid first start on last Sunday. As usual, keep an eye on his command of the strike zone. Let’s see if he can make a good start without getting into trouble early, which seems to be a hallmark of his.
The first pitch this afternoon is at 4:35, which means it should just be wrapping up in time for everyone to catch the Penguins’ game.