When the Pirates called up two pitchers yesterday and made one of the corresponding moves the demotion of a postion player, the little voice in my head said, "Oh no, we're going to see some weird things this week." With the lefty Mike Minor on the mound tonight, we're seeing Russell Martin in right field.
I could list a million reasons that this is crazy (the first of which is that maybe Starling Marte should be in right field if the Pirates are going to try and hide a non-outfielder in the outfield, since his value as a left fielder is mainly limited to patrolling PNC Park's huge left field and in other parks his ridiculous arm is a bigger asset in right), but whatever. Russell Martin hasn't hit at all since the middle of May, but the Pirates need his bat in the lineup so badly that they're going to stick him in right field tonight. This is terrifying for a million different reasons and this is only one of them.
As noted, Mike Minor is the Braves' starter tonight. He's been really spectacular this year, and he's not the guy that I'd want to see with a struggling offense that's lost three times in the last four games. Jeff Locke goes for the Pirates; I thought his last start was one of his better starts of 2013, so let's hope that he can build on that. One of the things that doesn't often get talked about in the "Jeff Locke is due to regress" posts and stories (even mine) is that Locke's capable of getting more ground balls and striking out more hitters than he has to this point in 2013 and he's still a relatively young guy at 25, which means that it's possible that he could stave off a huge regression in numbers by simply pitching better in the second part of the season. Let's hope he turns in a good one tonight, because the Pirates are probably going to need it.
First pitch is at 7:10.
I love Russell Martin. But playing him in the outfield is asinine. He has at least some experience at playing 3rd and 1st, so play him there. And maybe get some real OF help - right and left handed bat varieties - from the minors, even if they're not quite ready for prime time. But this is the kind of "management" which led to disasters last year. Somehow the image of Manny Sanguillen in RF after Roberto was gone comes to mind; can Russell at least wear a batting helmet out there?