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Series Thirty-Three: Pirates at Marlins

The Marlins are back home for the first time since the All-Star break. While this series against the Pirates isn't exactly marquee, it is nice to have baseball back in South Florida. In anticipation of the start of this homestand, we sat down with Pirate Parrot to get a feel for what we'll see in this three game set.

: Welcome back, Parrot.

: I'm surprised that you're welcoming me. I didn't think the Pirates were very popular with you Marlins fans.

: Well, you're not. But you're a nice enough guy. So we won't hold the Marlins ineptitude against your team against you.

: Thanks. You know, it's amazing. The Pirates have been pretty awful over the last few years, but they sure own the Marlins - at least in Pittsburgh. Maybe the Bucs will be able to work their magic on the Marlins in Miami this week.

: I would prefer to use the term "painfully unbelievable". The Marlins won only one game in the four game set earlier this year. Last year was no better, as the Marlins won only one of four against the Pirates. Even in the World Series year of 2003, the Marlins only managed to win two of six games against the lowly Bucs.

: And for some added pleasure for you Fish fans, the Pirates have a new trick up their sleeves for this series. In Wednesday night's game, you'll get your first look at rookie sensation Zach Duke. He's only appeared in 4 games so far (29 innings), but he's simply been spectacular. He owns a 0.93 ERA and a 3-0 record. Opponents are hitting only .236 against him.

: Great.

: Wait - it gets better. He just turned 22. He throws a devestating curveball that's been compared to Barry Zito's (although Duke hasn't had the opportunity to date Alyssa Milano just yet). There's also some pop on his fastball (low 90s). But on Wednesday, his biggest advantage will likely be that the Marlins haven't seen him before - although he has been up long enough that there should be a major league scouting report on him by now.

: The only Pirates pitcher I was looking forward to talking about was former Marlin Mark Redman. You really bummed me out with the Duke talk.

: Sorry. Would it make you feel any better if I shared an old Redman rumor?

: Maybe.

: Well, there was a rumor last week that the Marlins would re-acquire Mark Redman. Now that the Burnett trade fell apart, that probably won't happen, but it's still interesting speculation.

: Yeah - getting Redman back would certainly make the Neu acquisition seem like even more of a steal.

Switching gears completely, what ever happened with J.R. House? He was one of those guys who was talked about constantly as an uber-prospect. But he never seemed to pan out.

: Well, if he does pan out, it will likely be in the NFL and not in MLB. House enrolled at West Virginia and will vie for the starting quarterback job for the Mountaineers. Few people remember it, but J.R. was more highly touted as a quarterback than Tim Couch (a former #1 overall pick in the NFL) coming out of high school.

In a lot of ways, House's career path seems to be mirroring former Marlin Josh Booty's.

: Interesting. Thanks for your time, Parrot...

: Before I go, one last parting thought: Bobby Hill was sent down. So that means there's one less Cane to cheer for in the Majors.

: At least we're spared the "BOBBY HILL BOBBY HILL BOBBY HILL" chant.