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JR picks the Cards


The race for the NL Central title is down to the Reds and Cardinals, two teams the Pirates have faced in the past week. Asked to predict the winner, Pirates manager John Russell went with St. Louis.

“Because of the experience,” Russell said. “They’ve got a lot of guys who’ve been there and who’ve been through it. They know what to expect. They’ve got two horses in their rotation who’ve been to the playoffs and know what those games are like.”

Russell rated the teams’ bullpens as even. When it comes to bats, he gave Cards sluggers Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday an edge over the Reds’ Joey Votto and Scott Rolen. “Those two (Pujols and Holliday) have consistently shown they can put up great numbers,” Russell said.

Even with Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright anchoring the St. Louis rotation, Russell said Cincy’s group could be the better of the two.

“The five guys they run out there are pretty good,” Russell said. “The potential downfall is the two young guys — (Mike) Leake and (Travis) Wood. As they get close, how those guys react when it’s time to make a push for a playoff spot.”



  1. joel says:

    Anyone else see Cincy’s 1st, 2nd, and 3rd basemen let ground balls go right thru them vs the Pirates. Cards play better defense and hit better than Cincy. If the Pirates had four of Cincy’s starters they would be at least .500 or better.

  2. Pennhillbilly says:

    My thoughts for the Pirates future are that if they want to be competitive next year, and the year after that, they will have to go out and get two pitchers who are #1 and #2 level pitchers in the rotation. Sign two pitchers who will cost them $10 to $15 million per year. The young talented arms they have now will not be ready until roughly three years from now anyway. I realize that signing a few of the young position players, (Tabata, Cutch, Alverez, Walker) is necessary also, but this is the only route to success for them. I would lock down Cutch this year and Pedro next year. The payroll would immediately jump to $65 to $75 million, but if they want to win with this core they will never do it without good starters. Duke and company are only #3, #4, and #5 pitchers in the rotation at best. If they wait until these young arms are major league ready the core position players will be unaffordable to sign. Hopefully in year three of a plan like this they can plug the young talented arms in and reduce the payroll number at that time. I look forward to the replies to this thought.

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