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Houston vs. Pittsburgh, 24 August 2006

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Rodriguez, Maholm (MLB.com)

7:05 PM

FSNP, KDKA

Wandy Rodriguez (9-7, 5-37) vs. Paul Maholm (5-10, 4.86). The Bucs faced off against Rodriguez on April 21st and that epic 18-inning game on May 27th. Rodriguez has not become good or interesting since the last time I had to write about him.

Maholm will try to rebound after a horrible outing against Cincinnati. He'd been pitching fairly well for about a month before that.

Here's the box score. Our man J.R. House makes what is, I believe, his first career start behind the plate and only his second start of any kind since 2004.

Meanwhile, Jim Tracy continues to bat Chris Duffy and Jack Wilson at the top of the order. Does he believe first-inning offense is some sort of disease? Perhaps he has confused First-Inning Offense with one of any number of alphabetically similar conditions, such as Fish Odor Syndrome, Finnish Type Amyloidosis, or Fine-Needle Aspiration. Actually, he was probably looking for Finger Sucking:

Babies have a natural urge to suck... A child may develop a callus on the thumb if he or she sucks often and very hard.

If Tracy is trying to prevent the Pirates from sucking, I appreciate his concern. But I think he needs to check the medical dictionary again. This whole Duffy-batting-leadoff thing seems to be making the problem worse.