Beating the rush to March Madness, I am going to run with some Random Madness...
Right now, the starting rotation looks to have 4 members in Maholm, Snell, Ohlendorf and Duke. The 5th starter is a pretty ugly battle, but one that Dan McCutchen may be winning. He has been far from dominant, but he has limited the hits and performed at an adequate rate for a 5th starter. While his 5.40 ERA is nothing to be proud of, he is showing more than Karstens or Gorzelanny. Barthmaier has all but sealed a trip to Indianapolis.
The telltale of the whole 5th starter battle should clear up in the coming weeks, whoever gets the bulk of the innings among McCutchen, Gorzelanny and Karstens in the coming weeks will be the winner of the battle.
Regardless of the winner, when Dumatrait is deemed healthy and his arm strength is back, look for him to step into the rotation immediately unless one of the three start to show something near adequate value. I'd expect at least one game in the next two weeks to showcase all three pitching.
Then there is always Pedro, Martinez not Alvarez.
Houston, We Have A Problem:
Houston is 1-11 in spring ball. The question here is simple. How bad will they be in 2009? From all reports across the land, they are looking to shed salary and have a farm system that would make Dave Littlefield proud.
If they simply do salary dumps, they could be headed towards breaking the Pirate soon to be record for losing seasons. There is not much help on the way either. If they can rebuild the farm with trades of their current talent, the Pirates record will be safe. I am interested in seeing if they pull a Aramis Ramirez style trade for Lee, or if they hold out for talent in return.
It should make for an interesting start to the season if the Astros dump players.
BTW March Madness:
The time is coming for March Madness. As in past years, I will be running a March Madness Pool. If there is a prize, it is yet to be determined, I will have the info up when the link is posted. I will have the link up in a couple days, or sooner if I find time tonight. Plan on joining other BTW readers, The Buccos Forum regulars and random bloggers from around the interweb in an intense battle for March Madness Supremacy!!!
Here is the Link:
IF it requests a password: pirates
More info coming.