The Pirates went out west for a nine game road trip, and the result was equal parts infuriating and weird. The Pirates played awful baseball and lost the first five games of the trip, then they went ahead and played marginally improved but still pretty bad baseball and won three of the next four games. As a result, they return home for a six-game homestand against the Cardinals and Rockies with a 5-7 record, but leaving me with the feeling that maybe the only complete baseball game they’ve played all year was their Easter Sunday win over the Phillies nearly two weeks ago.
Now they’re home again and the bats look at least a little less pathetic than they seemed a week or so ago. The Cardinals have rolled to a 9-4 record to open the year, but they did just put Lance Berkman on the disabled list. The Pirates will send Charlie Morton to the mound tonight against a lineup that should presumably actually have a couple right-handed hitters in it this time, while the Cards counter with Lance Lynn. Lynn worked mostly as a reliever for the Cards last year, but has been excellent in two starts in 2012.
First pitch tonight is at 7:05.
For some reason, I have a good feeling about tonight. Ross Ohlendorf is taking the mound just a few days after getting lasered in the head with a line drive, and I’m feeling a good start for him tonight. As I wrote before he got hit, he pitched pretty well in July (much better than his 1-8 record indicates) and I think it’s time things start breaking better for him.
The problem is that he’s drawing the Reds, who are right in the thick of the NL Central race. That makes them similar to the Cardinal team that just wiped the floor with us; they can’t really afford to lose to teams like the Pirates right now. Tonight, the Pirates get their first look at Travis Wood, the non-Mike Leake rookie who’s off to a great start in 2010. Since he’s a lefty, Pedro Alvarez (who’s been struggling hugely since going nuts on the Brewers with just four hits in 36 at bats) is getting the night off. Chris Snyder will make his Pirate debut, while Jason Jaramillo heads back to Triple-A. A new era in Pittsburgh! Or something. Still, I’ve got a feeling about Ohlie tonight.
First pitch is at 7:05. Clemente/Cangelosi is after the jump.
Not sure what this is? Check here and here. Short version: in the comments pick the Pirates you think will be most and least valuable in today’s game. If you haven’t jumped aboard yet, it’s been a lot of fun so far and now’s as good a time as any to join in.
Yesterday, we had Milledge and McCutchen as Clementes and Duke and Jones as Cangelosi. Some people are starting to close the gap on my lead. If I’ve learned anything from comic books, it’s that I should be worried that TheHulk is chasing me down.