Day 35: Pirates @ Astros

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

We’re going to get away from Spring Training just briefly and revisit a project I did over the offseason. MLB.com took on the task of selecting an All-Decade Team for each of the 30 clubs, and we did that by enlisting the opinions of some people that had been around the team for all 10 years. This was especially helpful to me considering I didn’t jump on the beat until 2007. I served as a moderator for the panel, but did not have a vote in the decisions.

Anyways, you can see the results of our panel discussion here. As you’ll read, some of the selections were obvious and unanimous. Others, well, were not.

What stood out to me more than anything else, though, was the lack of good starting pitching from start to finish last decade. It was almost as we had to select the best of the worst at some points. There was hardly a dominant pitcher and rarely even a dominant season. If you want to know why this team did not approach .500 last decade, I think it sits with the starters. It’s just another reminder that pitching wins. And it underscores how important the Pirates’ staff is going to be this season.

Feel free to discuss the All-Decade team if you’d like. I’m sure opinions will differ on a handful of spots. If nothing else, it’s always good to reminisce.

Back in the Spring Training realm…

  • Most of the team veterans got the day off on Friday because of the long trip to Kissimmee. The drive here is a bit over two hours and is the longest of the spring. The biggest veteran exception is Ramon Vazquez, who is starting at third today. But the Pirates are also trying to showcase him for potential trade suitors, so the fact that he’s playing shouldn’t be a surprise.
  • Closer Octavio Dotel is back at Pirate City today throwing one inning in a Minor League game. If we are able to get a report on how that goes, I’ll be sure to pass it along.
  • Joel Hanrahan pitches in a Minor League contest on Saturday.
  • Last night, the Pirates announced they had reached a long-term deal with FSN Pittsburgh that guarantees a minimum of 150 games will be televised every year. Today, the Pirates announced that the number will be 156 for 2010.
  • Just me speaking here, but I don’t imagine there will be any cuts until Monday. Though there are still 37 players in Major League camp (35 if you don’t count Hanrahan and Jose Ascanio, both of whom will start on the DL),  the Pirates need as many bodies as they can get on Sunday because of two split-squad games.
  • Speaking of Sunday, it looks like Ross Ohlendorf will start against the Rays in Port Charlotte and D.J. Carrasco will get the starting assignment against the Phillies in Clearwater. Dotel will also pitch somewhere that day, though it’s unsure where right now.
  • As for Saturday, Daniel McCutchen will be making his first start of the spring. It’s about time considering he is going to be the team’s fifth starter to begin the season. He’s scheduled to be followed by Brendan Donnelly, Evan Meek, Steven Jackson and Jeff Karstens.

Pirates lineup:

  1. John Raynor (CF)
  2. Delwyn Young (2B)
  3. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Jeff Clement (1B)
  6. Bobby Crosby (SS)
  7. Ramon Vazquez (3B)
  8. Jason Jaramillo (C)
  9. Zach Duke (LHP)

Pitchers: Duke, Anthony Claggett, Jack Taschner, Javier Lopez

Astros lineup:

  1. T.J. Steele (CF)
  2. Jeff Keppinger (2B)
  3. Jason Michaels (RF)
  4. Carlos Lee (LF)
  5. Geoff Blum (1B)
  6. Pedro Feliz (3B)
  7. Edwin Maysonet (SS)
  8. Humberto Quintero (C)
  9. Roy Oswalt (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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