James McDonald takes the mound tonight in hopes of salvaging at least one game from this ugly trip to Houston. Obviously the first two games haven’t gone well and I’d rather not say anything about them at this point, but Charlie Morton and Ross Ohlendorf both racked up big strikeout totals against the Astros despite not being strikeout pitchers. McDonald, on the other hand, is a strikeout pitcher and it’s possible that we see a start from him that will look awfully dominating. Whether that means he can last seven innings or not, I guess we’ll see.
The Astros counter with JA Happ, who stinks. That doesn’t preclude him from pitching well against the Pirates, of course, but it’s still true. Matt Diaz has been traded, which means he (thankfully) won’t be starting against the lefty tonight, but it apparently also means the Pirates will be rocking a 24-man roster for tonight (and maybe for a while beacuse, as David Todd points out, Indianapolis is in a playoff race and the Pirates aren’t). Having a roster with Matt Diaz or Pedro Ciriaco or whoever is basically a 24-man roster anyway, so I don’t see that this is a huge problem until the Pirates need a spot-starter for Jeff Karstens on Friday.
First pitch tonight is at 8:05.