This recap will be short because like last night, most of the time I spent watching the game tonight was actually spent poring over Ross Ohlendorf PitchFX. It’s not my fault the Pirates and Astros aren’t very interesting.
The most important thing from tonight’s win was Paul Maholm’s start. As I noted earlier, he’s been going through quite the rough patch of late, so seeing him get six solid innings in tonight was a nice change. He wasn’t great (six hits, two walks, two strikeouts) but he was certainly good enough to keep the Pirates in the game, and that’s what’s most important. Of course, it took way more of an effort to keep the Pirates in the game against Brian Moehler than it should’ve. It took seven innings for the Pirates to really get to him at all, but I suppose getting to him late is better than never getting there.
At this point, I could mention Joel Hanrahan’s continued struggles or John Grabow’s magic act in the eighth inning, but I want to point out something else. Jack Wilson, in his entire career, has hit 59 home runs. Twenty-four have come at PNC Park, which seems about right given how hard PNC is on righties. After tonight, ten have come at Minute Maid Park in 57 career games there. The only other visiting park he’s hit more than two in is Cincy’s Great American Ballpark. He hits a home run once every 23 plate appearances at Minute Maid. If we extrapolated that out to his career, he’d have 202 home runs! Over a 600 PA season with every game played at Minute Maid, he’d hit 26 homers!
This is all meaningless extrapolation, but he does really have a knack for aiming at that close porch and as a result, he came into tonight with a career .495 SLG at Minute Maid. What if Wilson were left-handed and able to do the same thing with PNC’s right field. How different might his career arc look?