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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh, 6 July 2007


Jason Marquis (6-4, 3.31) vs. Paul Maholm (4-11, 4.74).

Here's the box. I'll be in the comments for this one.

After taking three of four from the Brewers, the Pirates hope to end the first half of the season with a bang by having a good series against the second-place Cubs.

A few notes:

-P- I just stumbled into this article by Bucs Dugout commenter KPatrick about whether or not the protest was a success. It's worth quoting at length here:

Team critics should not measure their impact by "votes." They should measure their impact by the fact that a fair number of people out there felt they had to take up arms, such as they did. And whatever the numbers were, the tastemakers in the local and national media outlets deemed the protest significant; they gave it space and airtime beforehand and afterwards. That is the most this protest could have hoped to accomplish.

Web sites like IrateFans, BucsDugout and others too numerous to mention have been wellsprings -- roiling cauldrons, rather -- of dissent for years. Now, in the wake of the June 30th protest, the dissenters need to believe that some of that has infiltrated the public consciousness. Just like everybody talks about OBP now after reflexively dismissing it for years. The desired change in perspective may be happening glacially, but can anyone reasonably believe it is not happening at all?

Firebrands, take your victories wherever you find them -- and as you find them.

Go read the whole thing, if you haven't already. KPatrick's right. The protest may have been disappointing on a local level, but it was successful in a broader sense. And with the McClatchy retirement, it may have contributed somewhat to an important moment in Pirate history. That's probably wishful thinking, but still.

-P- Shawn Chacon wants an extension. Well, I want a trip around the world and a record deal. Sometimes we don't get what we want. As I much as I disagree with the Pirates on just about everything, I think they're probably going to do the right thing and ignore Chacon.

Putting aside all the mean things I said about Chacon a few months ago, there's still no reason to think he can be successful as a starter, and as Econolodge points out, we've seen with previous examples like Brian Boehringer that it's a bad idea to give contracts to relievers on the basis of a few good months or even a year. Relievers are flaky - even the best relievers in a given time period often fall off the face of the earth only a couple years after their peaks - and, as we've seen, Chacon is especially flaky.

-P- As Bucdaddy noted, Neifi Perez has been suspended for 25 games for violating Major League Baseball's rules against using stimulants. It may seem weird to see the likes of Neifi Perez get in trouble for performance enhancing drugs, but a lot of guys who get busted are fringe players like Perez who are just trying to hang on and stay in the league.