|SS J. Rollins||LF M. Lawton|
|CF J. Michaels||3B F. Sanchez|
|RF B. Abreu||LF J. Bay|
|LF P. Burrell||1B D. Ward|
|2B C. Utley||2B J. Castillo|
|3B D. Bell||CF R. Mackowiak|
|1B R. Howard||C. R. Doumit|
|C M. Lieberthal||SS J. Wilson|
|P C. Lidle||P D. Williams|
Coming off one of their toughest defeats of the season, the Phils start a four-game visit to Pittsburgh with a holiday matinee against the Pirates and lefty Dave Williams. Cory Lidle starts for the Phils after his strong outing against the Mets last Wednesday: seven innings, three runs (all earned), five hits, a walk and seven strikeouts, which tied his season high.
The Pirates are 35-45, good for fifth place in the NL Central, and probably looking to next season. They've got some good young talent, most notably 2004 Rookie of the Year LF Jason Bay and the left-handed starter Oliver Perez, who's currently on the DL, but aren't generally considered a threat to contend anytime soon. Craig Wilson, arguably Pittsburgh's best hitter, has been disabled since mid-May.
Pitching is the team's strength: in addition to Perez and today's starter Williams, veteran lefty Mark Redman has thrown well for Pittsburgh, and power righty Kip Wells, though inconsistent, has talent to burn. The Pirates' bullpen is anchored by former Phils arsonist Jose Mesa, who has 20 saves and evidently doesn't want to be traded to a pennant contender; make of that what you will, though maybe his serial meltdowns for the 2003 Phils has something to do with this unusual stance.