-- Paul Maholm will not start again this season because of irritation in the left knee, the same one he's had four surgeries on during his career. Daniel McCutchen will make Maholm's scheduled start tonight.
With him being shut down, the Pirates are guaranteed that no Bucco pitcher will achieve ten victories in 2010. It's the first start that the dependable Maholm has missed this season.
-- One thing that the Pittsburgh-Florida series showcases is some great young talent. Last night, Pedro homered and had 5 RBI; so did Marlin outfielder Mike Stanton. The Fish pups include Gabby Sanchez and Logan Morrison, the Buds counter with Neil Walker and Jose Tabata. Great finale to check out some future stars.
-- Joe Kerrigan's 2010 staff stats: 39-71, 5.07 ERA; Ray Searage's 2010 staff stats: 17-31, 4.95 ERA. Not much difference? Well, after the shakedown cruise, Pirate pitchers in the past 28 days have a line of 12-13 with a 4.25 ERA.
He's loosened up the approach some, game-planning with input from the pitchers and catchers, and it seems to be working better than Kerrigan's data-driven game plans.
Individually, he's had the most impact, of course, on the guys he's coached the longest, Brian Burres (2-1, 2.89 ERA in September, 4-4, 5.01 overall) and Charlie Morton (1-1, 4.43 in September, 2-11, 7.94 overall). J-Mac (2-2, 2.31 in September, 4-5, 3.52 overall) and Paul Maholm (2-2, 4.66 in September, 9-15, 5.10 overall) have improved incrementally, and Zach Duke (2-2, 8.34 in September, 8-14, 5.63 overall) has been terrible since July. The bullpen's been a mixed bag, so we saved you their rundown.
Small sample, we admit, and no doubt the numbers reflect the puppy-laden September lineups the Pirates have faced, too. And McDonald's numbers are probably more indicative of him getting acclimated to life as a starter instead of a reliever.
Still, the starters, outside of the Zachster, have all improved under Searage.
-- The Pirates have 16 road wins this year; the record low for a 162-game schedule is the 1963 Mets with 17. Lotta pressure on for these last three games; the losing streak record last year, maybe the road losing streak record this year...
-- Jim Bowden of Fox Sports tweeted "I just asked Pirates GM Neal Huntington if John Russell will be back next year. He told me that was the million dollar question." Some vote of confidence, hey?