In order to maintain any hope of winning anything except for the second wild card, the Pirates need at least one and probably two wins in the last two games of this series at PNC Park against the Cardinals. They certainly weren’t outplayed by the Cards last night, but a loss is a loss at this point in the season.
Gerrit Cole pitches for the Pirates tonight, hoping to build on an encouraging first start off of the disabled list last week against the Braves. Obviously the important markers are the ones we always look for in Cole; velocity, swinging strikes, and whether or not he can get his changeup working. He did sort of run out of gas after five innings (around the 50-60 pitch mark) and that’s worth monitoring tonight. He’ll face Lance Lynn. The Pirates tend to tee off on Lynn, but Lynn has been really, really excellent since the end of June. In his last ten starts (including one against the Pirates), he’s got 55 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings, walking 22, and only allowing one home run to Neil Walker. Those peripherals nicely match his 2.58 ERA over that span.
Still, Adam Wainwright starts tomorrow, so this is a big game for the Pirates.
First pitch tonight is at 7:05.