Really? The Pirates are participating in the game of the night? How is this humanly possible? The same Pirates who have not had a winning season since 15 years ago when Jim Leyland was the manager and his lungs were only slightly black? The same Pirates whose 10 wins and 15 losses (.400 winning percentage) start is actually considered an improvement? Allow me to answer my own hypothetical questions.
First, the obvious point. The Pirates are visiting Shea Stadium for the last time ever, and start off by facing the best pitcher in baseball: Johan Santana. His 3.12 ERA is certainly not the best in the league, but Johan turns heads and gets our attention whenever he takes the mound. Even if he pitches for the hated Mets.
But really, the Pirates have the tiniest bit of momentum going into tonight's game. They've finally shed Matt Morris' contract (the problem wasn't Matt Morris...it was Matt Morris' contract). They now employ young stud Neal Huntington, having purged Dave Littlefield last year. Things might get a little bit worse before they get better with the rebuilding in Pittsburgh, but at least they have an ace now in Ian Snell.
Snell got hit hard in his last start against the Cardinals, but he had three quality starts prior to that one. He's recorded 21 K's on the season versus 9 walks; hopefully he continues to keep his walk rate at 2 per nine innings. Unfortunately, the defense behind him is not exactly stellar as his BABIP allowed is .355 on the season.
Tonight's matchup features Snell versus Santana and you better believe I'll be watching that Mets-Pirates game instead of my cherished Yankees. I want to like the Pirates, I want them to succeed. And my girlfriend knows someone who used to know Ian Snell or something so my Ian Snell number is like three. That's kinda awesome.