Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Wandy v Matt Garza In Cub Opener; Lotsa Notes

Wandy Rodriguez (4-2, 3.25) takes on Matt Garza. Wandy has fairly dependable so far, and his last three starts have been solid outings. The lefty is a monster at PNC Park, with a  3-1/1.35 line so far this year. Overall, he's 8-7/3.56 in 23 starts career starts against the Cubs. Chicago's Garza is making his first start of the year after recovering from shoulder and then lat problems. Dale Sveum has him on a pitch count of 90 tosses.

The game starts at 7:05 and will be aired on Root Sports and The Fan 93.7.

Pirate lineup: Jose Tabata LF, Neil Walker 2B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Garrett Jones RF, Russell Martin C, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Gaby Sanchez 1B, Clint Barmes SS and Wandy Rodriguez P.

Kind of a shake-and-bake lineup tonight without Starling Marte (he gets two days off now; he was supposed to get his blow Sunday but Cutch sat out with a sore knee) and Travis Snider. At least Cutch's knee is OK.

Cub lineup: Julio Borbon CF, Starlin Castro SS, Anthony Rizzo 1B, Alfonso Soriano LF, Scott Hairston RF, Welington Castillo C, Cody Ransom 3B, Darwin Barney 2B and Matt Garza P.

Something to watch will be Rizzo v Wandy. Rizzo has a reverse split this year, and is hitting .321/.387/.625 against southpaws.

Chicago enters this series having won five of eight and boasts a solid rotation, so this series may not be the breather everyone here expects it to be. True, Pittsburgh has won eight of 10 and is off to its best start since 1991, but the club has dropped seven of the last nine games played at PNC against the Cubbies.

  • Pittsburgh has reinstated Jose Contreras from the bereavement list. Jared Hughes was optioned back to Indy to clear space on the roster.
  • The Pirates have tossed six shutouts, with five of them coming on three hits or less. The Bucs have tossed 17 games giving up two runs or fewer, and are 15-2 in those contests. AJ Burnett took both losses, 1-0 to LA and 2-1 to Seattle.
  • Since the start of last season Pedro Alvarez leads all NL third basemen with 38 homers.
  • The Bucs have been outscored 88-63 in the first four innings; they've outscored opponents 122-67 between the fifth and ninth frames.
  • John Paul Morosi of Fox Sports has a piece on the NL Central and the Bucs' emergence, writing "The most superstitious/scarred/pessimistic Pirates fans may not be prepared to hear this, but The Streak should end this year..."
  • Adrian Gregory Glover of Players View selected the five most decadent (ie, likeliest to lead to clogged arteries) food items offered in MLB ballparks. Lucky us; PNC Park has two of the heart-stoppers. It sure ain't peanuts and crackerjacks any more...
  • Andy Oliver goes for Indy today and Charlie Morton gets a rehab start at Altoona.
  • Stolmy Pimentel had another tough day at the office for the Curve. He went seven, giving up five runs on eight hits and a walk with five K. Three of the runs scored in the first; all came with two down.
  • After yesterday's collision, Altoona 1B Alex Dickerson was placed on the minor league DL, diagnosed with a concussion. 
  • Future trade partners? Atlanta has lost Johnny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty to Tommy John surgery. The Bucs have an embarrassment of riches in their Indy bullpen - Ryan Reid (0.33 ERA), Duke Welker (2.25), Mike Zagurski (2.29) and Vic Black (2.66) - if Atlanta decides to go shopping.   
  • Former Bucco Ryan Vogelsong suffered a broken hand against the Nats when the Giant hurler was hit by a pitch.
  • Ronnie Paulino has signed a minor league deal with the Orioles.

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