Pregame: The ‘mother’ of all shutouts

Foggy Wrigley Field this morning, about two hours before thunderstorms moved in.
Foggy Wrigley Field this morning, about two hours before thunderstorms moved in.

CHICAGO — Don’t ask me what he was doing up at 5:45 this morning, but Dan Hart, the hardest working man in the Pirates’ media relations department, fired me an email with this tasty note:

According to the Elias Sports wonks, yesterday’s 10-0 Pirates win was only the 25th time in 96 seasons at Wrigley Field that that Cubs were losers in a double-digit shutout. The Pirates won five of those games, more than any other club — including what Danny tabbed “the mother of all double-digit shutouts,” a 22-0 wipeout on Sept. 16, 1975 in which Rennie Stennett went 7 for 7. That’s the biggest shutout rout in modern history, and was tied by the Indians at Yankee Stadium in 2004.

»»» There was heavy fog all over Chicagoland this morning — so thick, I could barely make out the center field scoreboard from the press box at Wrigley. The tarp was off for a few minutes, but now it’s out and b.p was cancelled — nasty thunderstorms are in the area, and I doubt this one will start on time.

»»» This would have been Charlie Morton’s day to pitch if Jeff Karstens had not been bumped back in the rotation. Morton laughed when I pointed out that Mother Nature must’ve thought Morton — who was rained out in back-to-back starts May 12 and 17 — was still making his regular turn. “Karstens is pitching, so I’m not the one bringing the rain. It’s not me, it’s just the (fifth) day,” Morton said.

»»» Even if the game is played, Steve Pearce will spend the day on the bench. When I asked Pearcey if his sore calf was any better today, he grimaced and shook his head. Any chance he could play? “No way,” Pearce said.

»»» The game might have to be played with only three umpires. One member of the four-man crew was sent to Milwaukee last night to replace an injured ump. A new ump is supposed to fly here in time for today’s game, but the fog and rain probably will delay his arrival.

»»» At the risk of jinxing it … Pirates starting pitchers have gone nine straight games without allowing more than two earned runs. In that span, they’ve a combined 6-2 with a 1.43 ERA. Pirates starters have 19 victories, which is tied for fifth-most in the NL.

»»» Ronny Cedeno has gone 35 games without making an error. The last Pirates shortstop to play mistake-free for so long was Jack Wilson, who did it for 42 straight games in 2008. Cedeno has three errors this season, two of which came in road games. His 2.5 UZR is third-best among NL shortstops behind Atlanta’s Alex Gonzalez (3.5) and Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki (3.2).

»»»If you’re near Charleston, W.Va., around 4 p.m. today, you can watch righty Jameson Taillon (1-1, 3.38) make his sixth start for the Power. Right-hander Vincent Payne, a 12th-round draft pick last year, was added to West Virginia’s roster to replace Porfirio Lopez, who was sent to short-season State College. Reliever Zach Foster was promoted to High-A Bradenton and Victor Black was added to West Virginia’s roster.

Lineups for this afternoon’s game:

Pirates (24-26) — 1. Jose Tabata lf, 2. Garrett Jones rf, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Neil Walker 2b, 5. Lyle Overbay 1b, 6. Ryan Doumit c, 7. Brandon Wood 3b, 8. Ronny Cedeno ss, 9. Jeff Karstens rhp (3-3, 3.57)

Cubs (22-28) — 1. Kosuke Fukodome rf, 2. Darwin Barney 2b, 3. Starlin Castro ss, 4. Aramis Ramirez 3b, 5. Carlos Pena 1b, 6. Alfonso Soriano lf, 7. Tony Campana cf, 8. Koyie Hill c, 9. Ryan Dempster rhp (3-4, 6.29)