Zach Duke attempts to grab a spot in the Pirates rotation today as he faces the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies today in Clearwater.

Phillies Looking to Snap Losing Streak. Find RH Sticks




The Philadelphia Phillies are 4-8 this spring.  They have lost four straight games and are 1-6 in their last seven.

Zach Duke (6IP, 3.00ERA, 0BB, 3K) will start today against the Philadelphia Phillies’ Joe Blanton (6IP 3.60ERA) in Clearwater.  Duke needs a good showing as the Pirates are looking to solidfy their rotation heading into the season.

Daniel McCutchen (5IP, 5.40ERA, 3BB, 0K), Matt Capps (5IP, 0.00ERA, 3BB, 5K), Brian Slocum (1IP, 27.00ERA, 0BB, 2HBP, 1K) and Dave Davidson (1IP, 0.00ERA) will also take the hill.  Davidson is back from the World Baseball Classic where he threw one inning. 

My Phillie friends are in Clearwater and are promising us some pics.  They tell us to keep an eye on John Mayberry Jr.  The outfielder is having a solid spring with three homers and is slugging at a .618 clip.  Hitting coach Milt Thompson has been throwing his pixie dust on Mayberry Jr. and it is producing results.

The Phillies lineup seems full with left handed bats.  Sound familiar?  The right handed candidates are…Marcus Giles (.235 with one double, one RBI and five stolen bases in 17 Grapefruit League at-bats), Miguel Cairo (.318 with one double, two home runs and three RBIs in 22 at-bats) and Pablo Ozuna (.368 with one homer and two RBIs in 19 at-bats); and prospects Jason Donald (.355 with two doubles and two RBIs in 31 at-bats) and the wild card, John Mayberry Jr. (.265 with three doubles, three home runs and 10 RBIs in 34 at-bats).  

The word seems to be that Mayberry Jr would be better playing everyday in AAA.  Heh, Pirates fans, we are not the only team that makes these difficult decisions. 

For the Pirates, I would like to see Zach Duke have a solid outing.  Also, maintaing the offense early in games would be a bonus.  If Duke struggles, the door seems to be wide open for the rotation.  And would leave many Pirate faithful scratching their head. 

I do know this, Virguel Vasquez opened some eyes yesterday didn’t he? When you throw three scoreless innings allowing only two baserunners… people notice.  He might be kicking the door in if you listen to Skipper John Russell.  Skip was quoted as saying, “He (Vasquez) made a couple of mistakes, but when you hit your spots, you can make a couple of mistakes. I thought he threw the ball very well. Overall, using both outings together, he’s shown the ability to attack the zone.” 

I have been working on more Vasquez information and promise you will see it in a seperate post.

Tags: Brian Slocum Daniel McCutchen Dave Davidson Joe Blanton John Mayberry Jr Matt Capps Virguel Vasquez Zach Duke

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