Pre-game Notes: Pirates @ Cubs 4/2
The Pirates will face the Chicago Cubs at 1:05 PM/ET for the second game of a three game opening weekend series. Left-hander Paul Maholm will start for the Bucs against Right-hander Carlos Zambrano.
- Maholm, who is the longest tenured pitcher on the staff, is considered to be a veteran in the clubhouse despite being just 28-years-old.
Maholm told Evan Drellich of MLB.com, “I’ve been around. I’ve been through everything. Most of the time, I’m just going to lead by example. You just try to show them how things should be done. … We have a bunch of young guys, and I feel like I fit in pretty good with them. It’s not like I’m ancient. It’s weird to know that me and [Ryan] Doumit have been around the longest. But I don’t think either one of us are old by any standard in baseball.”
Maholm went 3-1 with a 5.04 ERA against the Cubs last season and two of those wins came at Wrigley Field.
The Pirates were 10-5 against them last season and 5-4 in Chicago.
- Third Baseman Pedro Alvarez described the scene in the dugout after Neil Walker’s grand slam in Friday’s 6-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on opening day as “hectic.”
Alvarez told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “We’re a resilient bunch. We’re always going to play hard for nine. I think that’s the one message that we’re going to send across. That’s our type of baseball. Play hard for nine.”
- Neil Walker is batting .472 with 11 RBI and 10 extra base hits in 10 career games against the Cubs.
- Rookie Relief pitcher Mike Crotta made the team out of spring training and is soaking in his first major league opening day.
Crotta told Colin Dunlap of the Post Gazette his thoughts on opening day: “I just said to myself, ‘I made it, this is my dream.’ That isn’t something many people get to say or experience.”
Crotta is just one of eight players who experienced their first opening day in the big leagues. The others: Josh Rodriguez, Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata, Steve Pearce, James McDonald and Garret Olson.
Pearce told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, “I have been fighting for this spot since ’08. Three years later, it’s going to mean the world to me. It’s everything I wanted.”
Jose Tabata (LF), Neil Walker (2B), Andrew McCutchen (CF), Lyle Overbay (1B), Pedro Alvarez (3B), Ryan Doumit (C), Garrett Jones (RF), Ronny Cedeno (SS), Paul Maholm (LHP)
Darwin Baker (2B), Starlin Castro (SS), Marlon Byrd (CF), Aramis Ramirez (3B), Geovany Soto (C ), Carlos Pena (1B) Alfonso Soriano (LF) Tyler Colvin (RF) Carlos Zambrano (RHP)