Last night and today has been a lot of fun, but that's over and done with now. The Pirates have 82 wins and a winning season is clinched; now it's time to focus on winning the NL Central.
Last night's win was actually a huge step in that direction as much as it was the club's 82nd win. I sort of figured they'd need two wins in Texas to stay in the race before facing the Cubs and Padres, and they're halfway there now. The ugly four-game losing streak is over thanks to Gerrit Cole last night, and another win will pretty much bury it so that the Pirates can move on to the next phase of the season.
Francisco Liriano takes the mound tonight, looking to put his brutal start against the Brewers last week behind him. He'll face Martin Perez, who's a pretty decent prospect having a nice-enough season for a 22-year old. He is not Yu Darvish.
First pitch tonight is at 8:05.
Is there any better way to bounce back from an awful loss than a 12-inning walkoff win against the Phillies? I say that there isn’t. I wasn’t able to watch last night’s game as I’m in South Carolina on my aunt’s farm, but I did keep up as best I could on my phone and check out the highlights after and without even seeing a pitch last night’s win managed to put a big smile on my face.
Tonight, Charlie Morton tries to lock up a big series win for the Bucs before they have to face Roy Halladay tomorrow. The matchup (Kyle Kendrick) is pretty favorable for him, though I’m mildly concerned about the way he’s pitched against the last two lefty-heavy lineups he’s faced in Atlanta and the Mets. It’s not that he’s pitched all that poorly (just three earned runs, eight strikeouts, and four walks in 13 innings), but he’s giving up a ton of hits and just doesn’t look nearly as sharp against the lefties. I haven’t seen a Phillies lineup yet, but I’m assuming it’ll include Ryan Howard and Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez, which means there will be plenty of lefties for the Phils. Hopefully, Morton’s constant evolution will help him handle the lefties a bit better.
First pitch tonight is at 7:05.
A day after a surprisingly busy trade deadline, I’m still trying to sort things out. I’m not sure if Chris Snyder or James McDonald are with the Pirates quite yet, but they might be for today’s game. If Snyder’s here, I have to assume Jason Jaramillo will be back on his way to Triple-A. If McDonald is here, he’ll go to the bullpen for now — which is stupid with McCutchen and Karstens in the rotation, but I digress — where he’ll be joined by Justin Thomas, who was just called up this morning to fill the final remaining spot (that would be Carrasco, Lopez, and Dotel out, McCutchen, Thomas, and McDonald in, and Steven Jackson gets to stay with the club instead of being demoted as was originally planned when he was called up earlier this week).
And then the Pirates get to take the field against a guy that very well may win the Cy Young Award this year, one night after being almost completely shut down by Jeff Freaking Suppan. Baseball does not slow down, even for teams that trade 20% of their players at the trade deadline. Today’s first pitch is at 2:15, and 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.
In my daily quest to eliminate spam, I appear to have deleted a few comments from yesterday’s posts. I don’t think there were any C/C picks in there, but if there was drop a note and let me know.
Today’s update encapsulates both games in the Cardinals’ series so far. Most of the -1′s you see on there are from Jeff Karstens’ great outing on Friday night (he was a popular Cangelosi pick), while most of the +1′s you see are from Dan McCutchen last night (he was Cangelosi runner-up to Garrett Jones).
I actually have a longer Road to 17 post to write up about the whole Penguins winning the Stanley Cup thing, but for now let’s just say that I got up at 6:45 AM today to get a t-shirt and a copy of the PG and Trib to laminate and put on my wall next to my Steeler papers.
The official six-week Pirate season begins tonight, because the Penguins are done and the Steelers don’t start camp until late July. Zach Duke gets the start against Armando Galarraga. Duke’s coming off of one of his worst starts of the season, but those bad starts seem to be isolated to games against the Braves. Which means that either he’s going to have a good start tonight, or I just jinxed the crap out of him.
After not being able to watch last night’s game at all, I’m probably going to miss the beginning of this one as well, as I have some stuff in Durham to take care of tonight that’ll hopefully make its way into a FanHouse post by next week.
After winning an emotional opener last night, the Pirates now have to go out and play another game. Nyjer Morgan is only hitting .600 for one day, Adam LaRoche is only a good April hitter for one day, and Jack Wilson is a hero for one day. Now they all have to go out and do it all over again tonight. Ian Snell gets the start and as always, I’m interested to see exactly what he’s got in store for us. There’s really nothing he can do that would surprise me.
I’d also like to see Andy LaRoche do something good tonight. I know that usually I can be statistics heavy, but damn, I’d hate to see this guy get in a mental rut after a few bad games and have that wash away his great spring. A hit or two tonight and a nice play in the field could go a long way towards getting his head back on straight after a bad start last night.