Pirates @ Dodgers April 5, 2013: Welcome To Town, Zack Greinke

April 5, 2013 at 9:59 pm | Posted in Game Threads | Leave a comment

dodger_stadium_2013_150x150For the second year in a row, the Dodgers welcome the Pittsburgh Pirates to town for the second series of the season. I’m struggling here to think of nice things to say about the Pirates, other than the obvious fact that Andrew McCutchen is one of the best and most underrated players in baseball.

Otherwise, the Pirates are largely the same team, except they have… Gaby Sanchez, who got sent to the minors by Miami last season. And tonight’s starter, Jonathan Sanchez, who was DFA’d by Kansas City last year before signing a minor league deal with Pittsburgh. He walked 53 in 74.1 innings between Kansas City & Colorado.If you’re an offense looking to get healthy, facing Sanchez is a good way to do it. (Of course, the topic of my latest Insider piece at ESPN looks at teams that not only have problems against lefties, but have to face an inordinate amount of them. The Dodgers are high on that list.)

Pirates
Dodgers
LF
Marte
LF
Crawford
2B
Walker
2B
M.Ellis
CF
McCutchen
CF
Kemp
3B
Alvarez
1B
Gonzalez
C
Martin
3B
Cruz
1B
Jones
RF
Ethier
RF
Snyder
C
A.Ellis
SS
Barmes
SS
Sellers
P
Sanchez
P
Greinke

There’s also old friend Russell Martin, making his return to Dodger Stadium for the first time since leaving Los Angeles following the 2010 season. Martin’s off to a slow start for his new team — one walk in 11 plate appearances — but I’m legitimately interested to see the reaction he gets. Boos? Cheers? I’m honestly not certain, though I suppose I’ll lean towards him getting a positive reception.

Ah, but I’ve buried the lede here, haven’t I? Zack Greinke makes his Dodger debut, and we’re all excited. Well, most of us: I can’t say Pat Lackey of Pirates blog Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke? feels the same.

Indeed it has.

******

The minor league teams are in full swing — Yasiel Puig is expected to make his debut for Double-A Chattanooga tonight, and I particularly like this note from Dustin Nosler of Feelin’ Kinda Blue. Here’s the list of starting pitchers for the organization today:

MLB — Greinke
AAA — Matt Magill
AA — Zach Lee
A+ — Garrett Gould (after Ted Lilly)
A- — Lindsey Caughel

That is, as they say, not too bad.

******

Over at I R Fast, which is apparently a real thing, Clint Hulsey takes a very thorough dive into the PitchFX accounting of Hyun-jin Ryu‘s debut, full of all sorts of charts and measurements. The takeaway:

I think the Pitch F/X data shows that Ryu has solid MLB stuff. He obviously isn’t an ace or top tier pitcher, but no one really claimed he was one. Predicting and projecting pitchers is an extremely difficult task, but Ryu should be a middle of the rotation/league average/100 ERA – type starter in the big leagues.

******

Worth your time to read — Louie Lazar of the New York Times profiles Mike Sandlock, who at 97 is the oldest living Brooklyn Dodger (a claim he has for the Boston Braves & Pittsburgh Pirates, too). It’s an interesting look at a man who played in 99 games for the Dodgers just after World War II, and I get such a kick out of this sentence — “a switch-hitting catcher who was the Dodgers’ opening day shortstop in 1945” — that I’m willing to forgive him his complaints about bunting.

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