The Pirates head into tonight’s game protecting a 1/2 game lead in the wild card race. That doesn’t quite mean that a loss drops the Pirates out of the playoffs; the Dodgers are tied with the Giants and so a Dodger win coupled with a Giant loss (they’re tied 2-2 with the Nats in an afternoon game as of this writing) and a Cardinal loss would still put the Pirates a 1/2 game up in the wild card race (the Cardinals are a full game back at the moment). All of that being said, the Pirates really need to stop playing terrible baseball in the near-to-immediate future, if only because the Pirate bandwagon will ignite in flames and Pirate fans will literally start clawing each other’s faces off if the team doesn’t start playing better soon.
Unfortunately, Clayton Kershaw starts for the Dodgers tonight and Clayton Kershaw is awesome. He’s also left-handed, which means the Pirates will have to try and beat him with Josh Harrison and Gaby Sanchez in the lineup (somehow, Gaby Sanchez has seven hits as a Pirates in 28 at-bats; he also has a .326 OBP and his OPS is still .573 since all of his hits are singles). This feels like kind of a long shot to me. Wandy Rodriguez, who has been neither particularly good nor particularly bad as a Pirate, looks for his first win in black and gold. This would be an awfully good time for it, that’s for sure.
The first pitch is at 7:05.