Bucs seek sweep, Gorzelanny rebound

Bucs seek sweep, Gorzelanny rebound

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates will try for a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park.

It's a big start for Pirates lefty Tom Gorzelanny, who has been shaky in his first two outings, posting an 0-1 mark with a 10.80 ERA.

Rumors persist that Gorzelanny is not 100 percent after he endured shoulder stiffness in Spring Training. The southpaw insists he is healthy.

"There is no concern about that," Gorzelanny said. "I feel fine and I'm ready to go."

In his last start, Gorzelanny was rocked for seven runs in 2 1/3 innings in Monday's home opener against the Chicago Cubs.

"I need to throw strikes," Gorzelanny offered. "You are not going to get anywhere if you don't throw strikes. That is the biggest thing. I have tried to overdo things and tried to throw it by guys when there is no need to do that, and tried to be perfect and place them in there instead of throwing them in there. That's one of the things I need to not worry about and just go out there and pitch the way I know how to.

"I'm out of my rhythm and rushing and dipping and diving and throwing all over the place and across my body. And it makes for bad results. I think all the expectations for myself just got to me, and I want to go out there and just pitch the way I know how to pitch."

The Pirates are counting on Gorzelanny to be a big part of their rotation after he went 14-10 last season with a 3.88 ERA.

Pirates manager John Russell is confident that Gorzelanny is going to get back on track.

"We'll watch him just like we would any other start and see how he progresses," Russell said. "We know he didn't throw well his last outing and the outing before it didn't look great, but he made pitches when he had to. I think he's going to be fine.

"Obviously, he's a very good pitcher. He pitched some good games for us in Spring Training and he's just got to get back on track, and I don't see any reason why he won't. Again, it's early in the year, and a starter has one bad start and people start to say, 'Is he OK?' He's fine; the shoulder is fine."

Pitching matchup
PIT: LHP Tom Gorzelanny (0-1, 10.80 ERA)
Gorzelanny will be making his third start of the season and is trying to get back on track after two ineffective starts. He is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in two career starts against the Reds

CIN: RHP Johnny Cueto (1-0, 2.03 ERA)
Cueto has been lights out in his first two career starts. Through his first two starts, he has 18 strikeouts and no walks. He was one of five non-roster invitees to make the Reds Opening Day roster.

Nate McLouth has hit safely in each of his first 11 games, matching an 11-game hitting streak he had in 2007. ... Friday night's home run by Jason Bay was the 48th of his career at PNC Park. He now has hit the most home runs in the eight-year history of the Pirates' home. ... Rookie shortstop Brian Bixler got his first Major League hit -- a single in the sixth inning on Saturday night.

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Up next
• Monday: Pirates (Zach Duke, 0-0, 2.13) at Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda, 1-1, 2.13), 10:10 p.m. ET
• Tuesday: Pirates (Matt Morris, 0-1, 5.25) at Dodgers (Esteban Loaiza, 0-2, 6.75), 10:10 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Pirates (Paul Maholm, 0-1, 4.35) at Dodgers (Brad Penny, 1-2, 3.86), 10:10 p.m. ET

George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.