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Pittsburgh at Seattle, 20 June 2007

10:05 PM

Paul Maholm vs. Jeff Weaver. The most likely outcome for this game is a shootout - Weaver has been decent in two starts since spending a few weeks on the DL recovering from shoulder tendinitis, but before that he'd been getting pelted on a regular basis, and he still has a 10.97 ERA.

If this is going to be a shootout, though, it probably won't have much to do with Pirates catcher Ronny Paulino, who recently received a vote of confidence from manager Jim Tracy:

At the same time, Tracy left little doubt that the first option is his No. 1.

"We absolutely love what Ronny Paulino does for this pitching staff," he said last night before the Pirates' game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. "There's great value to it. Just look at the numbers."

...And never mind that 'working with the pitching staff' has been proven to have just about no obvious impact on wins and losses over time, or that "the numbers" that supposedly prove how great Paulino is at it involve contrasting his numbers with Ryan Doumit, who has caught a mere 117 innings this year. And never mind that the handful of games that Doumit has started at catcher include what seems like a disproportionate number of starts by B.P. Chacon, Paul Maholm, Tony Armas and John Van Benschoten, or that Doumit's return from a stint in the minor leagues roughly corresponds with a huge bullpen collapse that hardly seems like Doumit's fault. This 'working with pitchers' stuff is nonsense, and it's hurting the team.