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Rockies Vs. Pirates: James McDonald, Bucs Look For Series Split

After a bases-clearing double by Ty Wigginton dealt a blow the Pirates in their loss to the Rockies Saturday night, the Bucs will return on Sunday at 1:35 to try to salvage a 2-2 series split from Colorado.

James McDonald makes the start for the Pirates. McDonald made his first start against the Cardinals on Tuesday and wasn't especially sharp, as he was returning from a side injury that cost him a portion of Spring Training. He'll attempt to get back to his fine 2010 form on Sunday, hopefully with better command than he had in his first start.

The Rockies, meanwhile, will send Jhoulys Chacin to the hill. Chacin pitched seven shutout innings in his first start of the season and is coming off a stellar 2010 campaign in which he struck out 155 batters in as many innings. Walks appear to be his Achilles heel at this point. While the Pirates' offense hasn't done an especially good job controlling the strike zone so far this year, some of their hitters have been more patient so far this season than in years past. That might not mean anything at this early point in the season, but let's hope they can wait for Chacin to make a mistake or two.

After a Saturday game in which two Pirates starting pitchers (Charlie Morton and Kevin Correia) combined to pitch eight of nine innings, the Bucs' bullpen should be reasonably well-rested despite throwing 11 innings Friday night. McDonald was inefficient in his last start, throwing 87 pitches in 4.2 innings, so the Bucs may need to rely on their relievers yet again.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.