April 6, 2007

Pre-Game Notes

PITTSBURGH PIRATES (3-0) vs. CINCINNATI REDS (2-1)
APRIL 6, 2007 AT GREAT AMERICAN BALL PARK --- GAME #4, ROAD #4
LHP PAUL MAHOLM (8-10, 4.76 ERA in 2006) vs. RHP MATT BELISLE (2-5, 3.60 in 2006)

TODAYS STARTER:
PAUL MAHOLM:
The 24-year-old lefthander is making his first start of the season this evening...He ended last season with a four-game winning streak.

LAST START:
Maholm started the final Grapefruit League game and received a no-decision in Pittsburgh’s 6-4 loss to the Twins in Fort Myers, FL, last Saturday afternoon.

IN THE SPRING:
Paul went 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA in four official starts during spring training...In addition, he made start in a minor league game against the Twins at Pirate City on 3/20 (5.0ip/3h/1r/1er/0bb/4so) and threw on the side twice after starting a “B” game against the Reds at Pirate City on 3/4 (3.0ip/3h/3r/3er/2bb/4so).

GETTING PAST THE FIRST:
Maholm allowed a total of 29 first-inning runs in his 30 starts last season, including 17 in his last 13 starts...He posted an 8.40 ERA (30.0ip/28er) in the first inning last year and a 4.01 ERA (146.0ip/65er) after the opening frame.

PICKING ON THE OTHER GUYS:
Paul ranked second behind teammate Zach Duke (12) among National League pitchers with 11 caught stealings/pickoffs in 2006.

LIMITING THE LEFTIES:
Among the 21 home runs he has allowed in the major leagues, Maholm has surrendered just one to a left-handed batter...Minnesota’s Jason Kubel took him deep last year on 6/17...Overall he has held lefties to a .214 batting average (37-for-173).

MAHOLM vs. CINCINNATI
2006:
1-1 with a 6.29 ERA (24.1ip/17er) in four starts, losing a 7-6 decision @GABP on 4/7 (6.0ip/5er), winning a 9-3 decision over Aaron Harang at PNC Park on 5/16 (7.1ip/2er) and receiving no-decisions on 8/19 in Cincy (5.0ip/7er) and 9/9 at GABP (6.0ip/3er).
CAREER:
2-1 with a 4.46 ERA (38.1ip/19er) in six starts...In addition to this year, he blanked the Reds for 5.0 innings @GABP on 9/11/05, but received a no-decision (6.0ip/2er) and also whiffed eight batters while tossing 8.0 innings in a combined 4-0 shutout over Aaron Harang on
9/17/05 at PNC Park.

TOMORROW'S STARTER:
TONY ARMAS:
The 28-year-old righthander will be making his first start of the season and his first appearance in a Pirates uniform tomorrow night...His last outing came when he threw 69 pitches in a minor league game in Bradenton, FL, last Sunday (6.0ip/6h/2r/2er/2bb/2so)...Went 2-1 with a 3.70 ERA in six games (five starts) during the Grapefruit League season...Was signed as a free agent on 2/1 after spending parts of eight seasons pitching with Montreal/Washington...Went 9-12 with a 5.03 ERA in 30 starts with the Nationals last year, his highest start total since a career-high 34 in 2001.
vs. CINCINNATI:
1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in one start last year, beating Brandon Claussen, 7-1, at Great American Ball Park on 5/9 (6.0ip/1er)...1-2 with a 5.27 ERA (27.1ip/16er) in five career starts; his losses coming in Cincy on 5/30/00 and in Washington on 8/23/05.

TEAM NOTES:
The Pirates are hitting .231 (6-for-26) with runners in scoring position.
A few of the Buccos enjoy hitting at Great American Ball Park...The list includes Jason Bay, who is hitting .361 (39-for-108) with 10 home runs, Jose Castillo (21-for-62, .339 with three homers), Xavier Nady (17-for-44, .386 with three homers), Ronny Paulino (7-for-15, .467) and Jack Wilson (42-for-136, .309).

ON THE D.L.:
Pitcher John Grabow (left elbow irritation - eligible on 4/7) and infielder Freddy Sanchez (right knee sprain - eligible on 4/7) are on the 15-day disabled list.

REHABBING:
N.L. batting champ Freddy Sanchez played his first rehab game yesterday afternoon in Indianapolis...He played second base and went 1-for-2 with a double, two walks and a run scored at the plate.

UPCOMING PITCHING MATCHUPS:
Saturday at Cincinnati 7:10 RHP Tony Armas (9-12, 5.03 ERA in 2006) vs. RHP Aaron Harang (1-0, 0.00 ERA) NO TV
Sunday at Cincinnati 1:15 LHP Zach Duke (0-0, 2.57 ERA) vs. TBA FSNP
Monday vs. St. Louis 1:35 TBA vs. RHP Ian Snell (0-0, 3.00 ERA) FSNP
Tuesday vs. St. Louis 7:05 TBA vs. LHP Tom Gorzelanny (1-0, 3.60 ERA) FSNP
Wednesday vs. St. Louis 12:35 TBA vs. LHP Paul Maholm (0-0, 0.00 ERA + tonight) NO TV

Through The Dugout:
Jose Bautista - Produced three hits and three RBI in 5-4 win in Houston Wednesday night. Has started each of the first three games at third base and has hit safely in all three contests.

Jason Bay - Has started all three games in left field and has hit safely in all three contests.

Jose Castillo - Has gone 39-for-114 (.342) with four home runs in his career against Cincinnati (three of the HR at GABP).

Humberto Cota - Has yet to see any action on the field this season.

Ryan Doumit - Has five hits (three home runs) in 29 career at bats at Great American Ball Park.

Chris Duffy - Has hit safely in each of the first three games while leading off each contest.

Brad Eldred - Made his first career appearance on Pittsburgh’s Opening Day roster...Has not yet played a game in 2007.

Don Kelly - Made big-league debut last night; popped out to short as pinch hitter and played two innings at second base.

Adam LaRoche - Snapped an 0-for-8 start to the season with a single in second plate appearance Wednesday night in Houston.

Nate McLouth - Homered as a pinch hitter off Roy Oswalt Monday night...Popped out as a pinch hitter Tuesday night.

Xavier Nady - Has started each of the first three games in right field and has hit safely in all three contests.

Ronny Paulino - Has hit safely in the last two games and has picked an RBI in each contest.

Jack Wilson - Has started the first three games at shortstop and has picked up two hits in each contest.

Through The Pen:
Jonah Bayless - Picked up second big-league win Tuesday night - has thrown a total of three pitches while recording his two major league wins.

Matt Capps - Retired all nine of the Houston batters he faced while appearing in each of the first three games of the season.

Shawn Chacon - Made season debut Wednesday night in Houston and retired all six batters he faced.

Damaso Marte - Retired the only batter he faced Monday night...Established career high with 75 appearances last year.

Juan Perez - Made first appearance of the season Tuesday night and surrendered a single to only batter he faced (Mike Lamb).

Salomon Torres - Has posted saves in each of the first three games, only 2nd pitcher in MLB history to do so...Surrendered solo homer to Craig Biggio with two outs in 9th inning Wednesday.

John Wasdin - Made season debut Tuesday night (0.2ip/2h/0r) - his first appearance in the National League since pitching with Colorado in 2001.
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