When I went to PNC Park last September -- a series the Cubs swept, hard to believe only nine months later -- I ran into a man with his nine-year-old son. You know, the kind of relationship where a father introduces his son to baseball and his team and the loyalty that can engender, and the hope for winning in the future. He told me, "We love baseball and come to many games, but we never expect the Pirates to win."
All he had to do was wait for them to play the 2010 Cubs.
Apart from their 8-2 record vs. the Cubs, the Pirates are 18-48 this year.
Apart from their 3-1 record at Wrigley Field, the Pirates are 7-30 on the road this year. Other than Wrigley, they have won more than one road game in exactly one other park: Miller Park. Not completely surprising, since the Brewers are worse at home than on the road.
Apart from their 5-1 record in one-run games against the Cubs, the Pirates are 8-11 in one-run games this year.
Before yesterday, the Pirates were 3-19 in their last 22 games.
And yet, they come into Wrigley Field and Paul Maholm looks like Sandy Koufax and Octavio Dotel looks like Mariano Rivera.
It makes no sense. But there it is. The two teams will play again tonight. Oh, and Lou? It's going to be coolish and the wind is going to be blowing in again. Don't expect anyone to go up there and hit home runs.
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2010 - Ted Lilly||2-6||12||12||0||0||0||0||79.2||64||32||29||10||21||56||3.28||1.07|
|2010 - Jeff Karstens||2-2||14||8||0||0||0||0||60.2||72||33||31||11||15||32||4.60||1.43|
Tonight's pitching matchup is a rematch of the game on June 1 at PNC Park. Guess what? Ted lost, but it wasn't his fault -- he threw 7.2 good innings. As usual for this season, the Cubs didn't score enough runs for him. The only runs that day -- and four of the seven hits -- came from Xavier Nady, who hit a two-run homer.
Ted is still second-to-last (73rd out of 74 qualified starters) in run support in the National League. So, you're thinking, maybe he could throw a shutout and hit a home run himself to win the game?
That'd be great, but Ted has no career HR and is 0-for-19 at the plate this year.
Today's game is on WGN and FSN Pittsburgh. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Baseball-reference.com game preview
Please visit our SB Nation Pirates site Bucs Dugout.
Today's first pitch thread will be up at 7 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 8, 9 and 9:45 pm CDT.
Discuss amongst yourselves.