I would start this post by asking if you remembered this 5-4 Pirate win over the Cardinals from the 31st of last July, but I suspect that I don’t need to. The Pirates fell behind 4-2 early against Adam Wainwright, but fought their way back to 5-4 on an eighth inning Russell Martin single. The win was the Bucs’ fourth straight win over the Cardinals at PNC Park and it helped turn what was a 1 1/2 game division deficit into a 2 1/2 game lead. Those four games were, for me, exactly when I was positive that last year’s Pirates’ were contenders and at that point in time it felt like not only were the Pirates going to win a wild card, but that a division title was almost inevitable.
Except, of course, that it wasn’t. The Cardinals took the fifth game of the series on August 1st to salvage some dignity, they won a series from the Pirates in Busch Stadium two weeks later, and the Pirates and Cardinals hung neck-and-neck until the Cardinals swept the Pirates at Busch on September’s first weekend, from which point on it was the Cardinals’ division to lose.
Of course, I’m mentioning all of this because the Pirates have dropped three games in a row to the Cardinals and their record in the NL Central against non-Cubs teams is abysmal and because these three games have made a quest for the playoffs in 2014 feel hopeless. Except here’s the thing: if the Pirates win today, they’ll be within 3 1/2 games of the Brewers, within one game of the Cardinals, and within a half-game of the Reds. Sometimes things go poorly, and all you can do is salvage your dignity and hope things go better on another day. It’s only July 10th. There are plenty of days left in this season.
Shelby Miller and Edinson Volquez pitch tonight. Yadier Molina is out for 8-12 weeks with the thumb injury he suffered last night. Brandon Cumpton was demoted after last night’s start and Jaff Decker was called up in his place. The only thing the Pirates can do right now is win one game in this series, so that seems like a good place to start.
First pitch tonight is at 7:15.