Game #58: Astros at Pirates

PNC Park | 7:05 | Dumatrait vs. Wandy Rodriguez | Box
My pre-game thoughts about Wandy Rodriguez not making the jump to becoming an effective starter were spot on. Boy, he was off tonight. The Pirates managed just five hits and a walk off Rodriguez and three relievers. The Pirates best chance to score was in the sixth when back-to-back one out singles put runners on the corners. Rodriguez buckled down to retire Jason Bay and Adam LaRoche, preventing any damage.
The Astros didn’t do much off of Phil Dumatrait. He allowed two runs over six to take the loss. Kaz Matsui had four hits and scored both runs for Houston.
This was the first time all year the Pirates were shut out.

Pre-Game Thoughts
If Wandy Rodriguez were about six years younger I would make the case that he is ready to become a good pitcher for a number of years. He broke in with Houston in 2005. Compared to 2005, his 2007 K/9 rate improved by almost two and his K:BB has improved by almost one. As a result, his ERA in 2007 was about a run lower than it was in 2005 or 2006. Problem is, he is 29 and has been disabled once this year with groin issues.
Rodriguez has made eight starts against the Steel City Nine. He is 2-3 with a 5.65 ERA. His last start was 9/15/07 and wasn’t pretty for him. He was left with a no decision thanks to some poor pitching from Matt Morris. Rodriguez is 1-3 with a 5.28 ERA in Pittsburgh.
The Pirates are hitting .358 against him as a whole. They have clubbed six homers in 106 at bats. Jason Bay is 10-19 with four doubles and two homers. Jose Bautista is 1-10 with six whiffs. Might be a good time to start Doug Mientkiewicz at 3B, though Mientkiewicz is just 1-12 against lefties in 2008.
The surprise ace of the Pirates pitching staff has been Phil Dumatrait. He has tossed the fourth most innings and has the best ERA of anyone who has started one game or more. He has been very solid in his last two outings, allowing just one earned run in 12-2/3 innings of work.
He has yet to face any of the current Astros as this will be his first career appearance against them.

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