The situation has not changed much from yesterday: the Pirates won, which meant the Brewers lost, the Cardinals lost, the Giants won, and the Braves won. That means that the Pirates are still in third place in the NL Central, a significant margin behind both the Brewers (five games) and the Cardinals (3 1/2), while sitting behind the Cardinals, Giants (2 1/2 games) and Braves (1 game) in the wild card. That’s not a great place to be in late August, and so it’s safe to re-iterate that that if the Pirates want any chance at winning the NL Central this year, they probably need a sweep in Milwaukee this weekend. They need two wins to keep the wild card margins reasonable.
Tonight, Edinson Volquez and Wily Peralta take the mound. Peralta leads the NL in wins, but his peripherals aren’t hugely impressive, as he doesn’t strike a ton of guys out and he’s occasionally homer-prone. That’s not to say he’s not a good starter, of course; just that he’s not invincible. Edinson Volquez remains as Edinson Volquezy as ever. The Pirates are starting Travis Snider over Gregory Polanco again, which I’m still OK with, for now; it just seems ridiculous to take Snider’s bat out of the lineup if he’s hot. He was 0-for-5 last night, of course, so it’s possible he’s cooling off again (he’s been a streaky player since becoming a Pirate), but for now, I think it’s OK to get him regular at-bats without that being any sort of reflection on the long-term potential of Polanco or even on Polanco’s status as the starting right fielder. This is a playoff race. On the flip side, Pedro Alvarez is playing first base again, which is something that I find more or less insane and inexcusable.
First pitch tonight is at 7:10.