The Pirates have trouble mounting an offense against anybody right now, but they’re at least somewhat equipped to run an effective lineup out against right-handed pitchers on most nights. Neil Walker and Lyle Overbay are both better against righties and Matt Diaz doesn’t play on most nights against right-handed pitching, while guys like Brandon Wood and Ronny Cedeno and Random Minor League Catcher don’t tend to hit any pitching, so at least when there’s a righty on the mound it’s not Andrew McCutchen vs. the World.
Except that for some reason, Clint Hurdle has chosen to give Andrew McCutchen the night off. Now, it’s true that ‘Cutch hasn’t had a night off since his benching in early April and it’s true that the Pirates have a rough travel schedule this week (night game against the Mets tonight, then straight to Houston tomorrow), but it’s also true that Andrew McCutchen is the Pittsburgh Pirates’ offense right now. Give him a night off when Pedro Alvarez gets back, give him a night off when you’ve taken the first two from Houston and you have a day game after a night game. Don’t give him the night off when you’re at home, when the team is struggling for any sort of offense, and when you need a win to get a split from the Mets and salvage a winning record over a homestand.
It’s baffling and, in my opinion, inexcusable to trot out a lineup that has Xavier Paul and Brandon Wood in it, but Andrew McCutchen on the bench. The Pirates need any lift they can get right now and they have one of the best players in the National League wearing black and gold. Let McCutchen try to carry this team because if he doesn’t, it’s not terribly likely that someone else will.
Paul Maholm will try to throw a shutout tonight to beat Mike Pelfrey. Beavis and Butthead is already queued up. First pitch tonight is at 7:05.