The Pirates and Cardinals will finish up their three-game set this afternoon at Busch Stadium, and it's worth noting that the Pirates are a terrible dropped fly ball away from having a complete stranglehold over the Cardinals in this month of August. Said fly ball was dropped, of course, so the best the Pirates can hope for this afternoon is a second straight series win against the Cardinals, a four-game lead over them in the NL Central, and possibly relegating them to third place.
I do want to briefly note the overall NL standings right now. The Pirates' four-game losing streak allowed the Braves to shoot past them for the National League's best record, and the Dodgers' incredible hot streak has them just a game and a half behind the Pirates. The Pirates are a phenomenal team inside PNC Park and a mediocre one outside of it. Having to open the playoffs up in Dodger Stadium, facing Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke or Hyun-jin Ryu before ever getting to see PNC Park is kind of a terrifying perspective. Four game losing streaks should be avoided at this point of the season, and when they do occur they should be followed up with numerous wins.
AJ Burnett looks to follow up Francisco Liriano's gem last night with one of his own this afternoon. Burnett was quite excellent against the Cardinals in the first game of the double-header back at the end of July, though he didn't get a win because the game went 11 innings. Lance Lynn starts for the Cardinals. He started against Burnett in that double-header and was nearly as good as Burnett was.
The first pitch this afternoon was a 1:45.