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Cardinals 9, Pirates 3

The Pirates have now played two incredibly sloppy games, but with a loss tonight, they have a .500 record. Maybe they've figured out a special formula to sustain that pace--yesterday, they got enough out of Paul Maholm to get the ball to their two good relievers (John Grabow and Matt Capps, and let's leave out Tyler Yates), who grabbed the win and the save, respectively. 

Tonight, they played all kinds of sloppy baseball yet again and got blown out, but at least they were able to give Capps and Grabow a rest. Instead, they trotted out three bad relievers, with Sean Burnett sandwiched in between Donnie Veal and Craig Hansen. Veal and Hansen at least showed flashes of potential (they had three strikeouts apiece, and Veal had a wicked breaking ball going) but neither of them have any idea how to find the strike zone. It didn't matter, because Ian Snell was terrible and the game had already been decided by the time they entered.

So, tomorrow, the process needs to begin again. Zach Duke needs to pitch well enough to get the ball to Capps and Grabow. There's pretty much no margin for error, at least not if the rest of the Pirates play as they did tonight. Andy LaRoche was, again, terrible, botching what appeared to be a routine popup for his third error in two games. Freddy Sanchez had two hits, including a homer, but after him the Pirates only managed to reach base four other times. This has been a very, very bad .500 team so far.