Series Preview: at Pittsburgh Pirates

PHI: 102-60, 1st in NL East in 2011; PIT: 72-90, 4th in NL Central in 2011

When: April 5-9
Where: PNC Park (Pittsburgh, PA)

Probable Pitchers (2011 stats)
Thursday: Roy Halladay (19-6; 2.35) vs Erik Bedard (8-8, 4.03 with Boston)
Saturday: Cliff Lee (17-8; 2.40) vs. Jeff Karstens (9-9; 3.38)
Sunday: Vance Worley (11-3; 3.01) vs. James McDonald (9-9; 4.21)

Broadcast Info
Thursday, 1:35, MLBN
Saturday, 7:05, CSN
Sunday, 1:35, PHL 17
All Games on 97.5 FM

Player to Watch – Andrew McCutchen: Andrew McCutchen is a super star in the making. Though his .259 average last year was a huge decline from the back-to-back .286’s he hit in his first two seasons in the majors, McCutchen turned himself into a power threat, slugging career highs in home runs and RBIs. He is also a serious threat to one day be a 30-30 guy (HR/SB).

Overview: Opening Day has officially arrived for the rest of the league. The Phils and Pirates will open up their season’s against each other after a two-game On Deck Series in Philadelphia earlier this week.

The Pirates think they have a chance to make some noise in the Central division this year with big bats leaving the Cardinals and Brewers. Their pitching isn’t great but they have a couple of good hitters that could give Phillies pitching a little bit of a hard time.

That starts with Andrew McCutchen, their star centerfielder. Along with him, there is Neil Walker and Garrett Jones, who made themselves noticeable last season.

The pitching for the Pirates isn’t anything to brag about. The Opening Day starter will be  Erik Bedard. Both Charlie Morton and A.J. Burnett are out until mid-to-late April which means Jeff Karstens and James McDonald will make starts on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

Philadelphia is coming into the season banged up as well. Both Chase Utley and Ryan Howard will start the season on the DL and could miss until June at the earliest each. Their line up will feature John Mayberry in left, Ty Wigginton at first and Freddy Galvis at second most likely.

The Phillies’ pitching is fully healthy and they will be throwing their full arsenal of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Vance Worley at the Pirates.

Opening Day line up for the Phillies:

Victorino 8
Polanco 5
Rollins 6
Pence 9
Wigginton 3
Mayberry 7
Ruiz 2
Galvis 4
Halladay 1


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