I wrote before last night’s game that I thought it was as good a place as any for the Pirates to start a hot streak. They responded with a Neil Walker grand slam and a fantastic start from AJ Burnett. The thing about hot streaks, though, is that it takes more than one good performance to get one started. I wrote last week that I wanted 60 wins before the Pirates started their series with the Reds. They’ve got 59.
With Travis Wood on the mound this afternoon, Gaby Sanchez is making his Pirate debut and batting cleanup. Clint Hurdle’s showing an awful lot of faith in the guy with that move, given that he hasn’t played in the bigs since the Fourth. Let’s hope he justifies it. Hurdle is going right-heavy against the lefty Wood today, with only Travis Snider and Pedro Alvarez in the lineup against him. Neil Walker is getting just his third day off of the season (meaning it’s the third time he hasn’t started; he did pinch hit in one of his non-starts). Jeff Karstens goes for the Bucs. The first pitch is at 2:20.