Last night at 8:04 PM EST, the Pirates didn't have a road win in over a month. Today, they could theoretically win a road series by taking one more game from the Cubs. With James McDonald on the mound, I actually won't rule it out as a possibility though McDonald will obviously need more help from his fielders than he got in his last start in Milwaukee.
The Pirates also made their first call-up of September, with John Bowker joining the club this afternoon while Jeff Clement goes on rehab to Indy. It seems like the move is being made to make room for Clement to play regularly, but I'd honestly rather see Bowker on the field against right-handed pitching ahead of Lastings Milledge, Ryan Doumit, and Garrett Jones at this point. Bowker destroyed Triple-A pitching both at Fresno and Indianapolis this year for a combined line of .313/.382/.587 line. That's what 26-year olds are supposed to do at Triple-A, but since the Giants barely gave him a chance the last two years I think it's worth a shot to see what he can do in a field that's much friendly to lefties than AT&T Park is.
Today's not a great day to start Bowker, though, since lefty Tom Gorzelanny is on the mound for the Cubs. Gorzo's been having a pretty rough go of things since about July 1 and the Reds dinged him for three homers his last time out, so hopefully the Pirates can keep their hot-hitting from last night rolling. Note that Ryan Doumit is again starting for Lastings Milledge against a lefty and draw your own conclusions from it.
First pitch today is at 2:20. Clemente/Cangelosi is after the jump.
Not sure what this is? Check here and here. Short version: in the comments pick the Pirates you think will be most and least valuable in today's game. If you haven't jumped aboard yet, it's been a lot of fun so far and now's as good a time as any to join in.
The back-to-back blowouts provide an interesting little slice of C/C lore here: on Monday, Andrew McCutchen was the only player to rack up positive WPA and on Tuesday, Chris Snyder was the only player to rack up negative WPA. That's because the Pirates built up a huge enough lead early that not even Sean Gallagher's awful outing moved the needle one bit (a seven-run lead isn't much different than a 12-run lead once you get to the 7th inning). Weirdly enough last night's Clemente was Ronny Cedeno, thanks to his early-game two-run double that mostly put things out of reach with Jeff Karstens' good start making him the runner-up. All those hits that the top of the lineup got only set the table early provided padding later.