Last summer, I saw Ramon Ortiz pitch at a Durham Bulls game and couldn’t believe he was still in baseball. He hasn’t had an ERA+ of over 100 since 2004 and he really only ever had a few decent seasons with the Angels; why would someone still be interested in him? I decided that the Rays must just be using him as Triple-A filler the way the Pirates use Brian Burres, and promptly forgot about Ramon Ortiz again. Until today, when I discovered that he’s starting for the Cubs against the Pirates.
Ortiz is 38 now and including the one start he’s made for the Cubs this year, he’s made just three starts since 2007. He didn’t pitch in the Majors at all in 2008 (Japan) or 2009 (Triple-A). In short, if this is who the Cubs are trotting out to the mound today, the Pirates have to beat him. Have to.
Paul Maholm goes for the Bucs, who are still just a game out of first place but are in third after the Cardinals’ win yesterday. That means that our dream of first place at the All-Star break is a longshot, as it requires losses by both the Cards and Brewers today. Still, I’ll be plenty happy with four games over .500 and one game back. Let’s pile the runs on Ortiz early and not look back.
First pitch today is at 1:35.