PITTSBURGH — Following Tuesday’s rainout, the powers that be are calling it a “straight” doubleheader today at PNC Park between the Pirates and Tigers, with the added intrigue of interleague play mixed in as well.
I call it a fun day at the ballpark, especially since my wife and her whole family hail from Michigan, so we’ll be texting our barbs back and forth throughout the 18 innings (or more).
Practically speaking, each team is permitted a 26th man on the major-league roster for a doubleheader. For the Pirates, that extra man is corner man José Osuna, who arrived from Triple-A this morning.
Through interpreter Mike González, Osuna said his work at third base “is going very well.” He’s played 12 of 13 games for Indianapolis at third, with one start in right field.
Osuna might see some action in the second game, perhaps even a start, but he’ll begin the day on the bench. As his .333/.404/.533 batting line in Triple-A would attest, he’s handled the disappointment of not making the opening-day roster well.
“It was very tough in the beginning, because I love this team and I want to help this team win as much as I can,” Osuna said. “But I had to readjust my mentality and have the focus where it needs to be at.”
Clint Hurdle said Osuna would likely start the second game against Tigers lefty Matt Boyd.
THE DOUBLE-DIP SHUFFLE
Not that getting an extra day off is a terrible thing for a team that’s lost four in a row and six of seven, but today’s doubleheader certainly complicates some things.
Chief among those is the starting pitcher for Sunday’s game against the Cardinals here. Officially, the man for that job is to be determined, since yesterday’s scheduled starter Chad Kuhl had to wait another day to get back on the mound.
Hurdle said he and his staff are not considering a true “bullpen game” for Sunday, although bumping Tyler Glasnow out of the ‘pen for a game would have a similar effect. Here’s Alan Saunders’ feature on Glasnow’s increased spin rate and what might be at the heart of it:
Getting back to Sunday, Nick Kingham is scheduled to start Saturday for Indianapolis, for what it’s worth. He could easily be bumped a day and make his MLB debut.
“We’ve got some options,” Hurdle said, cheekily. “Check the travelogues or whatever you want to do.”
Then, there’s the matter that the Pirates and Tigers will be playing all three games of this series in the span of about 24 hours. Thursday’s 12:35 p.m. first pitch will seem rather near by the end of today’s baseball-related activities.
Hurdle said the Pirates will look at the biometric data they collect from the players to determine who might be better served not starting Thursday, but that process won’t begin until the morning.
“We’ll revisit it tomorrow,” Hurdle said. “You can figure some of this stuff on your own.”
Courtesy of my hard-working colleague …
Gm 23: ☠ (12-10) vs. 🐅 (9-11)
P 🇨🇦 (2.86 ERA) vs. Jordan Zimmerman (7.71)
— Alan Saunders (@ASaunders_PGH) April 25, 2018
Ron Gardenhire will send the following nine out there for Game 1 of his team’s third doubleheader of the season …
Let's play two, shall we? Here's how we line up or Game 1 of our doubleheader vs. the Pirates today: pic.twitter.com/SkynSzi72X
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) April 25, 2018
I’m not going to lie and say it’s perfect, but it’s not pouring rain or anything. A little drizzle as I sit here around 3 p.m. and look down upon my baseball kingdom.
Weather.com has the temperature in the mid-50s through the majority of the first game, then closer to 50 for the evening. Precipitation chances are at 15 percent and below. Not a lot of wind.
It’s going to be a lengthy day of baseball, so hop aboard and let’s talk about it! Alan Saunders might be hanging around for a bit, too.
Also, I’ll add the lineups for Game 2 in this same post after the conclusion of Game 1.
As promised, there’s Osuna in the nightcap lineup …
The Game 2 lineup, presented by Honda.
— Pirates (@Pirates) April 26, 2018
And for the Tigers, trying for the sweep …
Here's how we line up for Game 2 of our doubleheader, which begins at 8:35 ET. pic.twitter.com/zZ71QzIUaQ
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) April 26, 2018