Pirates Scouting Report: Florida Marlins

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Opponent:

Florida Marlins (9-23).

Site: PNC Park.

Times: 7:05 p.m. today and tomorrow, 1:35 p.m. Sunday.

TV, radio: Today and Sunday on FSN Pittsburgh; all games on KDKA-AM (1020) and Pirates Radio Network.

Starting matchups: RHP Victor Santos (1-4, 4.97) vs. RHP Sergio Mitre (1-4, 4.89), LHP Zach Duke (2-3, 4.00) vs. LHP Scott Olsen (1-2, 5.32), RHP Ian Snell (2-2, 4.65) vs. RHP Brian Moehler (0-4, 9.76).

Season series: First meeting. The Pirates won the series last year, 4-3.

Three things to know about the Marlins: 1. Baseball's cheapest team, with a $15 million payroll, has lost 10 of 13 to fall below the Pirates for the worst record in the National League. 2. Florida's opening day lineup included six rookies, most of any team since 1900. The best of those, so far, has been LF Josh Willingham, who leads the league's rookies with seven home runs and 27 RBIs. He is batting cleanup behind the team's biggest bat, 3B Miguel Cabrera, batting .342 with five home runs. 3. The starters have averaged five innings per start, lowest in the league. Only three times in the past eight games have they lasted five. Even ace LHP Dontrelle Willis was chased after 22/3 last night.

The Pirates' key to success: Put the ball in play. The Marlins have committed 29 errors, and their .975 fielding percentage is the worst in Major League Baseball.

The intangible: Ever imagined the Pirates in the role of free-spending Goliath? Here it is: RF Jeromy Burnitz ($6.7 million) and injured 1B Sean Casey ($8.5 million) will make more than the entire Florida roster this season.

On deck: The nine-game homestand end with three against the surprising Cincinnati Reds.



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