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Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh, 28 August 2005

Luke Hudson (5-6, 6.82) vs. Kip Wells (7-13, 4.74). After all I said about Eric Milton and Josh Fogg's homerrific tendencies, they only gave up one run between them yesterday (albeit on a homer). Milton has only one problem as a pitcher, and that's homers - and it's a big problem. This year, Tim Hudson's little brother Luke doesn't even have the luxury of having only one big problem to concentrate on - he can't strike anyone out, he walks too many batters, and when batters do bother to swing they crush the ball. He's supposedly got great stuff and a nasty curveball, and he didn't pitch badly last year, so I wonder what's going on here. Forget what you might hear or read about him having won four of his last five starts; he has only been even mildly impressive in two of them.

After all the reassurances about Zach Duke's status, it appears that his sprained ankle actually was relatively serious, and he has been placed on the DL. There's quite a silver lining to this dark cloud, however, which is that we'll get to take a look at Paul Maholm in his place. Maholm has had a terrific year for Class AA Altoona and Class AAA Indianapolis. He'll pitch on Monday. In order to make room for Maholm on the 40 man roster, Jose Castillo has been moved to the 60 day DL, so the Pirates don't even have to risk losing anyone on waivers. There are a number of guys at the major league level that they could lose without being hurt later on, but I wouldn't trust Dave Littlefield to choose any of those players.