Zach Duke vs. Carlos Monasterios, 10:10 PM.
Before we get too excited about the Pirates' hitting performance today, we'd do well to keep in mind that the Dodgers' pitchers included Vicente Padilla, Ramon Ortiz, Russ Ortiz, Jeff Weaver and a Rule 5 pick. How a big-budget team like the Dodgers sends all these retreads out there on Opening Day is beyond me. How they have all of them on their 25-man roster to start the year is beyond me, and it speaks poorly of Ned Colletti's ability to build a team. Even given their uncertain financial situation, they can be a lot more creative than this. It's true that Weaver had his first okay year since ever last season. And I know Padilla pitched pretty well after joining the Dodgers last year (although that was 40 innings, and the 400 frames that precede them say he's bad). But still. We can joke about how the Pirates always struggle about terrible pitchers, but more seriously, if I were a Dodgers fan I'd be pretty annoyed.
These remarks were commented on elsewhere. It must have looked like I was lumping Monasterios in with the likes of Russ Ortiz, which wasn't what I intended to do. As Rule 5 picks go, I think Monasterios was a good one, and he's pitched very well so far. I just included him in that litany because carrying a Rule 5 draft pick is a risk, and it's much easier to get by with one in your bullpen if the rest of the bullpen is strong. The Dodgers had some very weak links in their bullpen, which I thought was inviting trouble, particularly since they're hoping to contend. That's all.
I'm going to put the game thread up a little early. In the meantime, here's a topic for discussion. Dejan Kovacevic has recently reported that the Pirates are going to start promoting minor leaguers a bit more quickly, and already this year we've seen Michael Crotta and Michael Dubee move up a level. Who else do you think moves up?
-P- Bryan Morris, Nate Adcock, and/or Jeff Locke from Bradenton to Altoona. All three are pitching well, particularly Morris, and all have ample experience at Class A+. With Crotta's promotion, there are only three real prospects in Altoona's rotation: Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson and Tim Alderson.
-P- Tony Sanchez from Bradenton to Altoona. He's playing brilliantly, and there's no one standing in his way.
-P- Diego Moreno from Bradenton to Altoona. He has 19 strikeouts against one walk, and has allowed one run in 13 innings.
-P- Danny Moskos from Altoona to Indianapolis. Why not? He's pitched well so far, and he's been at Altoona forever.
-P- Nate Baker from West Virginia to Bradenton. As a college pitcher and a fifth-rounder, I can't believe the Pirates will keep Baker at low Class A for very long.
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Anyway, you're on your own for the next 24 hours or so. A buddy and I are going on a road trip to see some California League parks before both of us move. (We elected to skip Dodger Stadium because the desert seems a lot more interesting right now.) We're going to High Desert tonight, and then Inland Empire and perhaps Lancaster tomorrow.
I'll schedule a game thread to go up for tomorrow's game. Please post overflows in the fanposts as needed.