After probably the worst homestand of the season, the Pirates’ lives get even tougher as they head out on the road for a three game series starting tonight against the NL Central leading Cincinnati Reds.
What better way to start what could be the season altering series than with possibly the worst lineup that Clint Hurdle could assemble? When a team sends out players like Alex Presley, Jose Tabata and Rod Barajas to try and beat a team that has the second best record in all of baseball at 84-57, odds are you are going to lose not only this game, but also most likely the majority of the games left in the season. Granted Hurdle doesn’t have Travis Snider available because of a hamstring injury that he seems to have had since junior high, and Startling Marte just came of the disabled list. So I can understand the precaution there, but don’t have people who can’t hit their weight hitting the heart of the order. Pretty sure Hurdle does this just so people have something to blog about.
As for the roster moves that were made today, the Pirates designated relief pitcher Evan Meek for assignment and recalled starting pitcher Rick VandenHurk, relief pitcher Bryan Morris and shortstop Chase d’Arnaud from Triple-A Indy as their playoff run ended Saturday. Meek had to see this coming eventually. He rarely touched 93 mph on the radar gun after surgery in the offseason and the former all-star was no longer an effective reliever. Bryan Morris is an interesting subject. The last piece of the debacle that was the Jason Bay-trade, Morris converted from a starter to a reliever shortly after the beginning of last season. After posting excellent numbers in Triple-A, Morris now has the opportunity to prove that Neal Huntington had a clue when he traded away Bay. Somewhere Andy LaRoche still thinks he is a baseball America top prospect.
Wandy Rodriguez toes the rubber tonight and starts the most important series for the Pirates all season. Anything less than winning two of three from the Reds can officially close the book on the Pirates’ season. At that point, the Pirates will be, at best, 73-69, which makes playoffs an afterthought and puts a .500 season in major jeopardy. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m.