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Gameday Thread, #44: 5/22 vs Pirates

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Oliver Perez, LHP (2-5, 6.98)
Orlando Hernandez, RHP (2-4, 6.98)

Pittsburgh comes to town, though I would not be surprised if there were more people next door in the US Airways Center tonight, for the Suns' latest "loser goes home" match-up. That holds 18,422, officially - possibly a few more this evening - while the series last Mon-Wed against our divisional rivals, San Diego, averaged less than 19,300. Let's say, I imagine there will be few walk-up tickets sold at Chase tonight.

Which is hard to understand when there is such an attractive pitching matchup this evening. Okay, "attractive" might not be the right word; would you settle for "well-balanced" instead, given both men have identical ERA's, a fraction under seven? Actually, there's a pleasing symmetry for all three games: tomorrow, both starters have ERAs between five and six, and on Wednesday, they're between four and five. But the main hope tonight will be a solid outing for Hernandez: Cruz largely redeemed himself yesterday, let's hope El Ma?ati Pequeno can do the same.

Pittsburgh now sit at 14-30, on schedule for 52-110, and we should make the most of facing them, as we then go on a tough road trip vs the Reds, Mets, and Braves. The three starters we face this series have a combined record of 5-14 and, despite our failures with runners in scoring position yesterday, we're still the best-hitting team in the league, batting .279 overall, with an OPS 74 points better than the Pirates. And our ERA is almost half a run superior.

But it's mostly their 4-19 record on the road, that is why I'm calling for the sweep. They're hardly alone in the NL Central there though: overall, the division is 48-76 away from their respective homes, a sharp contrast to the NL West, where every team is .500 or better on the road, and we're 58-49 combined. Anyway, swing by Bucs Dugout for the (one-eyed, no doubt) view of things.