The Pirates are three games away from pulling into the All-Star Break with one of the most magical first halves by anyone in recent memory. With a two-game lead on the Reds, there’s a pretty good chance that even if the Pirates get swept by the Giants this weekend, they’ll be at least tied with the Reds at the break.
Swept by the Giants or tied with the Reds is not the outcome I’m looking for this weekend. The Pirates have won eight of nine. They’re generally hitting the ball well and the Giants will pitch both Zito and Lincecum this weekend. The Pirates will pitch Bedard, McDonald, and Burnett in this series. The Pirates are at home and they have a better home record than anybody. The Giants are the best team that the Pirates will play between right now and August 3rd; they have some young guys that can hit, and their pitching staff is typically excellent even if the Pirates will miss Cain and Bumgarner this weekend. Two wins in this series would probably mean more than four wins against the Astros. And that’s what I’d like to see: two more wins this weekend, and an unshakeable buzz about the Pirates for the entire All-Star Break.
Zito pitches against Erik Bedard tonight. The first pitch is at 7:05.