A few words about last night’s game before today’s. First off, it’s never, ever a good move to put anyone on base as the go-ahead run in the tenth inning, even if that someone at the plate is Albert Pujols. Pujols kills the Pirates, yes. And Matt Capps hasn’t been great this year, yes. But putting the go-ahead runner on base in a tie game late in the game drops the win expectancy about 10% with a 100% certainty, whereas it’s maybe a 40% chance he gets any sort of hit and a much lower probability that he hits a double or homer. We got burned because Matt Capps has been terrible this year, but it’s not like we have many other options. The part about last night’s game that disappointed me the most was bunting the scorching-hot Lastings Milledge with nobody out and the winning run on first base. I never like seeing the bat taken out of a player’s hand, but it’s especially maddening in the situation that it happened in last night.
Paul Maholm and Joel Piniero take the mound at 1:35 today in what could be one of the darkest days in Pirate history. John Russell is apparently compliant with “getting this 82nd loss the hell over with” because Brandon Moss, Neil Walker, Ramon Vasquez, and Jason Jaramillo are all in the starting lineup this afternoon.