Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Opening Day Lineup

The Pirates will open against the Colorado Rockies today at 1:35 PM when Paul Maholm takes on Esmil Rogers. The game will be televised on Root Sports, and the gates open at 11:30.

The lineup: Jose Tabata LF, Neil Walker 2B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Lyle Overbay 1B, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Ryan Doumit C, Garrett Jones RF, Ronny Cedeno SS, Paul Maholm P.

The Rox have been pretty hot, too, and bring a 3-1 slate to Pittsburgh (which is 4-2) along with old manager Jim Tracy. Colorado, of course, is Hurdle's former club, so there should be all kind of sidebar stories about those past relationships.

Indy and Altoona are opening their seasons today; Brian Burres will go for the Tribe and Bryan Morris for the Curve.


WilliamJPellas said...

Burres isn't the worst reliable veteran four-A type to have stashed at Triple-A in the event of an emergency or three. He's basically our seventh starter, ie, behind the top 5 in Pittsburgh and the next option after Karstens.

Ideally, though, you'd hope our minor league pitchers would catch up to him and pass him on the way to the bigs. I am definitely interested to see if Morris holds up, both physically and mentally. If so, he will certainly be in Pittsburgh for at least a cup of coffee in September. We will probably see Rudy Owens before we see Morris if Owens continues to deal like he's been dealing. I still like Justin Wilson a lot and give great weight to his College World Series experience. Nice to see some depth beginning to appear in the minor league system, even if it's on the heels of a far more draconian than necessary teardown - rebuild process. I'm still steamed about that.

Ron Ieraci said...

Amen, Will, the pitching is starting to arrive, but is still over the horizon. And yah, I agree they could have worked the turnover better, but that's the road they chose; too late to turn back now.

I'm still a little concerned about the position players on the farm, though it's tough to carp with half the team being home grown.

And I'm befuddled as to why they took so many high school pitchers; that extra time it takes to develop them leaves a pretty big gap to fill in.

WilliamJPellas said...

The preponderance of prep school arms in the Pirates' system IS definitely a head-scratcher, I agree. You'll recall we kicked this around in detail before last year's draft; that's why I was a big advocate of taking Drew Pomeranz, a top collegiate pitcher. Not that you can argue with them taking a high school terminator like Jameson Taillon---definitely not---I'm just questioning, like you, why in general the Pirates have favored high schoolers by such a large margin over collegians. Really, Justin Wilson is the only significant college pitcher the team has chosen since the current regime took over.

I still say they should be mixing in more college players so there is a better mix of "help you right now" versus "maybe they'll be good when they grow up and arrive in Pittsburgh in five or six or seven or eight years".

Unless maybe they figured all along that this would be a six or seven year process? :-0 Even then, though, it's very, VERY risky to rely to such a great extent on prep players. And in general, I think we can say that the minor league system, while definitely improved, is still nowhere close to being the elite system needed for the Pirates to really succeed with their "Tampa Bay North" strategy.

Ron Ieraci said...

Yah, Will, I understand value and all that jazz, but you'd think they'd try to get a couple of college guys to fill in the holes that the roster demolition created while the high school kids grew up.