Quick note: Andy Phillips was traded to the White Sox for minor leaguer Michael Dubee. This was to make room for Luis Cruz in AAA, who was demoted to make room for Delwyn Young in Pittsburgh.
Tonight is kind of a big game for the Pirates, I think, even though it's mid-April and I don't know if any Pirate game can logically be classified as "big." After their big, emotional win on Monday, the team has kind of gone in to the tank in the last two games. I think endless, uninspired losing streaks are more or less the signature move of this franchise over the past 16+ years, and today they have a chance to really nip one in the bud. There's been a bit of discussion over whether Paul Maholm is a "real" ace or an "ace on the Pirates" ace, and while I generally fall in the latter category, I can say that in an abstract fashion, games like these are ones that "real" aces win.
Maholm gets a chance to play streak stopper against Jair Jurrjens and the Braves tonight at PNC Park, while most Pirate fans try to forget about how Dave Littlefield didn't make the Jurrjens/Jack Wilson trade, wonder what the score of the Penguins game is, and hope that the Pirates can win to avoid a protracted losing streak. What a charmed existence.