Pregame: Home opener 2011


PNC opener

Happy home opener to ya.

The most important factor behind the Pirates’ encouraging 4-2 start this season is pitching — specifically, the starting pitching. After one-plus turn through the rotation, the starters are 3-0 with a sparkling 2.23 ERA. However, manager Clint Hurdle balked at saying the staff has so far exceeded his expectations.

“I didn’t set any coming in,” Hurdle said. “I usually leave that up to other people. Our guys have thrown strike one, more often that not, they’ve kept the ball down in the zone and changed speeds effectively. They’ve been aggressive and thrown with conviction. They’ve gotten us to a good place in every game. Our starting pitching has showed up pretty well every day.”

»»» Hurdle downplayed the significance of facing the Rockies, his old club, in the home opener. The Rox are managed by former Pirates skipper Jim Tracy.

“It’s dripping with irony and it’s great for you (media),” Hurdle said. “Outside of that, it’s not that big of a deal. I was able to help much more with the advance scouting meeting than with the first two teams we played. I am proud to have spent time in the Colorado Rockies organization. I was humbled by that opportunity. It’s behind me. They have a good man in charge, they have a good ballclub and they have a good organization. I made a lot of lasting relationships there. Outside of that, they want to put the wood to us and we want to put the wood to them.”

Lineups for this afternoon’s home opener:

Rockies (3-1) – 1. Dexter Fowler cf, 2. Ryan Spilborghs rf, 3. Carlos Gonzalez lf, 4. Troy Tulowitzki ss, 5. Lopez 2b, 6. Todd Helton 1b, 7. Ty Wigginton 3b, 8. Chris Iannetta c, 9. Esmil Rogers (2011 debut), rhp

Pirates (4-2) – 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 (0-0, 0.00), lhp