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Matchup Game # 153 at Pirates


Brandon Backe   Zach Duke
9 - 8, 4.76    6 - 1, 1.84

Brandon Backe's road troubles have been well-noted, but back on July 18, he pitched six innings of three-hit, one-run ball--arguably his best road start ever--against the Pirates at PNC.

Since then, the Astros got to Zach Duke in his worst start thus far, August 12 in Houston, when Duke only went four, but gave up eight hits and four runs. Two starts later, he sprained his ankle while running the bases, and there was talk he'd be shut down for the remainder.

Instead he pitched September 16 at Cincinnati, giving up one run. The Pirates pulled him after four innings and 74 pitches, for no reason other than being careful with their phenom.

'Course they could have just kept him out, but that's an Astro fan speaking.

Anyway, as I was intimating last night, shadowy signs and portents notwithstanding, I don't have a good feeling about this game. This has less to do with my faith in Backe, who after all, pitched very well against Milwaukee Saturday, but more to do with how the Pirates have consistently pounded the s***out of our pitchers all series.

The Astros and Pirates start a half-hour before the Phillies and Braves get going in Atlanta; should be fun to follow along in between trying to do business, but I'm not thinking that my usual microanalytic diary will be possible. :-)

Wild Card Today/Tonight
Teams Pitching
Philadelphia Jon
15 12 4.40
Atlanta Tim
13 8 3.45
Florida Dontrelle
21 9 2.48
New York Pedro
15 7 2.80