CHICAGO — There’s some gravy on yesterday’s 6-3 win against the Cubs on Opening Day: It happened away from PNC Park. Remember, the Pirates won just 17 road games last season.
“It’s always good to start off the season 1-0, especially when we’re on the road,” Andrew McCutchen said. “That’s another big bonus for us right there. We’ll live off that, glow off that a little bit then get ready and do it again (today).”
The Pirates have not opened a season with two straight road wins since 2007, when they swept a three-game set in Houston.
»»» Manager Clint Hurdle didn’t really give a Knute Rockne-type speech before the opener. Instead, he had a private sit-down with the team Thursday.
“We just talked about the fact that we’re going to be on the bottom of everybody’s list, we’re going to be the team that has to do things the right way,” Neil Walker said. “We’re not going to be able to rely on home runs to get us out of jams, or for starting pitching to go eight innings every single game. We’re going to have to really lock it up on a nightly basis, really focus on grinding it out. We’re going to have to have a grinder’s mentality. That’s the way it’s going to have to be.”
Most prognosticators picked the Pirates to finish either fifth or sixth in the NL Central
“They have a reason not to talk about us right now,” McCutchen said. “We have to change it around. We don’t listen to what everyone else says. We just focus on what’s in front of us.”
»»» Ryan Doumit is behind the plate again today, but Hurdle said Jason Jaramillo will catch Sunday with Ross Ohlendorf on the hill. Doumit will start the first two games in St. Louis.
»»» Walker has hit safely in all 10 games in his career against the Cubs, going 17 for 36 (.472) with six doubles, four homers and 11 RBI. … McCutchenhas reached base safely in each of his past 17 games against the Cubs, going 27 for 63 (.429) with four doubles, three triples, two homers, 12 walks, six stolen bases and 12 RBI.
Lineups for this afternoon’s game:
Pirates (1-0) – 1. Jose Tabata lf, 2. Neil Walker 2b, 3. Andrew McCutchen, 4. Lyle Overbay 1b, 5. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 6. Ryan Doumit c, 7. Garrett Jones rf, 8. Ronny Cedeno ss, 9. Paul Maholm, lhp
Cubs (0-1) – 1. Jeff Baker 2b, .2 Starlin Castro ss, 3. Marlon Byrd cf, 4. Aramis Ramirez 3b, 5. Geovany Soto c, 6. Carlos Pena 1b, 7. Alfonso Soriano lf, 8. Tyler Colvin rf, 9. Carlos Zambrano, rhp