Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 4/5/12

Phillies (0-0) at Pirates (0-0)

1:35 PM EST–PNC Park, Pittsburgh

Here is the MLB.com Gameday

TV: ROOT Sports

Well, here we are. The long wait is finally over, and the Bucs are back at last. We’ve endlessly discussed and debated the possibilities, the outlook, the predictions, everything. There are plenty of reasons for optimism and for pessimism. But today we get to put all that behind us, sit down, and watch Bucco baseball. PNC Park will be packed on a beautiful day on the North Shore. Thousands of TV’s will be tuning in to ROOT Sports. The Budweiser Bowtie Bar will finally open up. It’s a good day.

Some quick notes:

  • Matt Hague‘s great spring paid off–he has made the club. Congrats to him, and hopefully he’ll get a good amount of at-bats and starts against lefties.
  • To round out the roster, the Bucs put Chris Leroux on the 60-day DL, meaning Josh Harrison and Yamaico Navarro made the team as well. Charlie Morton and A.J. Burnett are on the 15-day DL (the Bucs will carry only 4 starting pitchers for the first two weeks since that’s all they’ll need). Here is the full 25-man roster.
  • If you are headed down to the game, check out this parking and traffic info. Don’t forget about the new “T” station right by the PNC Park home plate entrance.
  • Check out my predictions for the season (along with the rest of the podcast crew) here. They vary from reasonable to bold to ridiculous.
  • We’ll have our usual game chat up and running. Come on by.

About the Phillies: 

The Phils will be without Chase Utley and Ryan Howard this weekend…but they’ve still got a strong lineup and look to be the NL East favorites again. They’ve added Jonathan Papelbon as closer, Jim Thome to the bench, and some other pieces such as old friend Ty Wigginton and the speedy Juan Pierre.

I’m hoping that the Phillies’ fan base won’t take over PNC Park today. Last year when the Phils came to town the park was at least half red, which was horrible until the Pirates mercifully took 2 of 3 and shut the bad guys up. Today shouldn’t be as bad, since it’s a Thursday afternoon and Pirate fans eat up Opening Day tickets pretty quickly. The rest of the series might be a different story, though.

The Pirates have had plenty of success against the Phillies at home lately, and have also been great on Opening Day in recent years. Let’s hope that all continues today.

Today’s starters…

Roy Halladay (0-0, 0.00) vs. Erik Bedard (0-0, 0.00)

The Phillies may be a bit depleted on offense, but their ridiculous starting pitching more than makes up for it. I feel pretty good about the Pirates’ starting rotation, but they’ll be at a major disadvantage this weekend for sure. Halladay is one of the best in the business, and runs will be extremely difficult to come by against him. Halladay defeated the Pirates twice last year despite a first inning Neil Walker homer in the first meeting.

Bedard will have his work cut out for him today. He had a bit of an up-and-down spring, but that’s not really worth worrying about for a veteran with a strong track record. As I’ve said a million times this offseason, Bedard is a very solid pitcher when he’s healthy. He won’t blow anyone away with a fastball, but his curve is spectacular and he’s been consistent over his entire career. Hopefully this will be the first of many starts for him in a Pirates uniform this year.

LET’S GO BUCS!

Photo: daveynin / Flickr.com

©2012 Raise the Jolly Roger. All Rights Reserved.

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