Thank you to all the brave men and women defending our country and its ideals. You and your predecessors are the reason we can play ball.
-- The first game is a fairly dependable bellweather for the Bucs - they've won the series opener ten times, and gone on to take nine of those series. They'll have to bring their A game to New York today if they want that first win - the team is 0-7 at Citi Field since it opened in 2009.
-- When Dewey went down yesterday, Neil Walker became the back-up catcher basically by default. It's probably a good thing Chris Snyder made it through the game in one piece. Walker hasn't put on the gear since 2006, before being switched to third base. There is no reserve catcher listed on the Bucco MLB depth chart behind Doumit and Snyder.
-- Yesterday's outing stretched the Pirates starting pitcher's streak of giving up three runs or less to eleven straight games (and the skein is at ten games for two earned runs or less), dating back to a 4-2 loss to Washington on May 16th. Their record during that span is 6-5.
Overall, the Pirates' 2011 ERA is 3.51 (5.00 - 2010). The starters have a 3.69 ERA (5.28 - 2010), the bullpen 3.12 (4.57 - 2010). Good stuff from Ray Searage and his gang, and the defense behind them.
-- As Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune Review notes, we'll find out a lot about Charlie Morton in his next pair of starts. Lefties are hitting .341 against him, and the Mets and Phils, his next two opponents, have lineups that are loaded with left handed hitters. MLB is a constant cat-and-mouse game; we'll see if Morton can adjust.
-- Hard to believe, but the Mets' Jason Bay should be making his first appearance against his old homeboys since the three-team blockbuster deal of July 31st, 2008, that sent him to Boston. What ever happened to Andy LaRoche, Brandon Moss, Craig Hansen and Bryan Morris - or for that matter, the linchpin of the trade, Manny Ramirez? Only Bay and LaRoche are drawing big league paychecks.
-- Speaking of Morris, there's some good news regarding him from the minor league front: he's back from a left abdomen strain and is pitching out of Altoona's bullpen until he builds enough arm strength to jump back into the rotation.
-- Bob Cohn of the Tribune-Review has an article on the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of MLB's small revenue teams.
-- The Pirates announced plans for a 40th anniversary celebration of the 1971 World Series Championship team when the Bucs take on the Baltimore Orioles June 20th through June 22nd. It involves a couple of giveaways, a player recognition night on Tuesday, and a ticket special that's good for all three games.