Who would have thought we would be anticipating a potential 3 game sweep for the once struggling Pittsburgh Pirates this early in the season at Arizona? Credit the bullpen and taking advantage of some opportunities on offense as some of the reasons. The Pirates (3-5) after falling behind 4-1 early threw 6 2/3 innings of one run ball and used a 5 run 4th inning to earn their first winning streak of the season last night edging the Diamondbacks 6-5. Wandy Rodriguez left in the bottom of the third with apparent tightness in his left hamstring.
Pittsburgh totaled eight runs before heading into the desert for this series. Garrett Jones is 4 for 9 with a homer and three RBIs in the first two games while Starling Marte is also 4 for 9 to stretch his run of multi-hit efforts to four. Of course it helps when your opponent in Arizona 5-3) committed two costly errors and went 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
The Pirates send Jonathan Sanchez (0-1, 5.40 ERA) to the hill this evening. He lost his lone start against Arizona last year while with San Francisco, allowing five runs over four innings in a 6-3 loss July 23. The Giants had won his previous seven starts against the Diamondbacks, with Sanchez going 5-0 with a 3.38 ERA. Sanchez's seven career wins over Arizona are his most against any team. Diamondbacks cleanup hitter Miguel Montero, who drove in three runs Tuesday, is 5 for 12 with two homers against him.
He'll be opposed by Wade Miley (1-0, 1.50), the runner-up in NL Rookie of the Year voting a year ago. The left-hander allowed one run over six innings Friday to earn a 3-1 victory at Milwaukee. That outing came after the Diamondbacks shut him down after he posted a 7.43 ERA in the spring.
Everything positive about this offense starts with Andrew McCutchen. He's traveled the road from "stud prospect" to "great young player" to "legitimate franchise cornerstone and MVP candidate". It's not supposed to be as easy as McCutchen has made it look for four seasons now despite by his standards off to a slow start in 2013. Paul Goldschmidt, Aaron Hill and Jason Kubel have each belted a couple of HRs for the snakes and are going to have to step up their production due to the loss of Justin Upton who is now playing with his brother BJ in Atlanta.
We get a bargain of a price late this afternoon in the desert and feel good about our chances considering it's likely the roof will regularly be closed at Chase Field. Given the theme of this series has seen fireworks in the early innings, we'll look for the trend to continue in a ballpark which has a tendency to be hitter friendly. Best of luck however you play!