Saturday’s early MLB games: More pain for the Pirates?

The Cubs put an absolute beating on the Buccos in yesterday’s early game.  Let’s hope today’s early encounters produce much closer contests.

18.05. Pirates @ Cubs – Duke (9-10), Gorzelanny (4-2)
21.00. Phillies @ Braves – Hamels (7-7), Kawakami (5-9)
21.05. White Sox @ A’s – Floyd (9-7), Gonzalez (4-2)
21.10. Indians @ Twins – Huff (6-6), Swarzak (3-5)
21.10. Giants @ Mets – Cain (12-4), Santana (13-8)
23.10. Rockies @ Marlins – Cook (10-4), van den Hurk (2-1)

All times are in BST

We start with another game between the Cubs and Pirates. The Cubs won 17-2 yesterday and were 14-0 up after two innings, completing the rare feat of batting around at the start of the second inning without giving up an out.  Zack Duke will be hoping that the Cubs have used up all their runs in the first game of the series.  Former Pirate Tom Gorzelanny will be hoping that they’ve left some in reserve.

We then have four games to choose from at around 21.00.  The Braves got a good outing from Dutch pitcher Jair Jurrjens in yesterday’s game, but Joe Blanton matched him and a solo shot by Ryan Howard in the top of the ninth gave the Phillies a 3-2 victory.  They’ve now won four straight. 

The White Sox also benefited from a late solo home run to win in extra-innings win over the A’s yesterday.  Alexei Ramirez was the hero for Chicago after the A’s had rallied from an early 0-6 deficit.  Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez should make for a good pitching match-up, with the latter having performed brilliantly in his last four starts.

Scott Baker pitched a complete game shutout as the Twins eased to an 11-0 victory over the Indians in the series opener.  Justin Masterson, one of Cleveland’s recent additions from the Victor Martinez trade, laboured through 3.1 innings, although Tomo Ohka picked up most of the slack for the bullpen by pitching three innings.  They’ll turn to rookie David Huff to break a three-game losing streak.  Anthony Swarzak needs to rebound from his last start in which he gave up seven runs in one-inning of work.

The Giants-Mets game doesn’t need much of a build-up. Watching Matt Cain and Johan Santana going toe-to-toe should be a real treat.   The batters facing those two imposing starting pitchers might not share that view.  The two teams combined for just nine hits yesterday as the Mets won 3-0 at Citi Field.

There’s one more game beginning before midnight.  The Netherlands’ Rick van den Hurk will be on the mound for the Marlins.  The Rockies mounted a late rally yesterday, plating four runs in the top of the ninth, but they weren’t quite able to complete the comeback and went down by a score of 5-6. 

All the above games can be followed via various resources on MLB.com (Gameday, Gameday Audio and MLB.tv).  ESPN America will broadcast the Phillies-Braves game live at 21.00 and Red Sox-Rangers at 01.00.

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