After a promising series against St. Louis, the Pirates went into Milwaukee confident, and came out without a victory. With A.J. Burnett, Jeff Karstens, and James McDonald being the three pitchers in Milwaukee this weekend, a sweep is the worst possible thing that could have happened to the Bucs. They fell one game into the wild card standings, and are now 1.5 behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The wild card is looking like it’s coming down to four teams. The Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals lead, behind them is the Los Angeles Dodgers, and next is the Pirates. Atlanta opens up a four game series against the Colorado Rockies, St. Louis will play a three game series against the New York Mets, and LA will face the San Diego Padres for a three game set.
The series starting today against the Astros is a huge one, believe it or not. The Pirates need to come away with at least two of the three against Houston. A sweep would be awesome, but is sometimes too much to ask for. With the Braves and Cardinals playing two of the weaker teams in the National League, the Pirates need to make sure they don’t get too far behind. I can see Atlanta taking three, if not all four of the games they play against Colorado and a Cardinals sweep of the Mets isn’t out of the question either. With the recent play of the Padres, hopefully they will be able to do to the Dodgers something similar of what they did to the Pirates just two weeks ago, which in case you forget, was a sweep.
After these weekday series are over, the Pirates open up a three game series against the Chicago Cubs, another series the Pirates need to win. The Cubs were already swept by the Pirates earlier this year, and with the games coming on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the sell out crowds will definitely get the players going. The Astros were swept in a four game series in early July by the Pirates, so the Pirates coming away five wins in the next six games isn’t out of the question.
If they can sweep one of these next two series, and take two of three in the other, don’t count your Pirates out of the hunt yet, with ten of their last 23 games coming against the Cubs, Astros, and Mets. With Jeff Locke making his first start of the season today, we’ll hope to see a solid outing from him, which will most likely spring the Pirates to a successful home stand.
Photo Credits: Chicago Sun Times