If the Pirates sweep the Mets this weekend, they'll go into the break with a 6-6 record after their nine-game winning streak. 15-6 isn't a bad run. Matt Harvey is skipping his start this weekend, so hey, anything's possible.
Tonight, Charlie Morton pitches for the Pirates against Jeremy Hefner. Hefner was a Pirate for less than a month in November and December of 2011. He's not very good, so the Pirates should score some runs again tonight. First pitch tonight is at 7:05.
The Pirates are guaranteed to go into the All-Star Break in first place and in the last 12 hours or so the conversation has shifted from the Pirates themselves to Andrew McCutchen in the home run derby and the trade deadline (Justin Upton’s name does that, and I don’t have a problem with it), but they still have one game left before the break starts.
It’s a winnable game, too, with AJ Burnett facing off against Tim Lincecume this afternoon. Lincecum’s strikeout rate is still insanely high this year (9.7 K/9) and that means that he’s a candidate to have a sudden resurgence against this Pirate offense, but he’s still struggling pretty badly with his control and he gets hit pretty hard in his worst starts. The Pirates are pretty good at hitting people hard right now, so hopefully they’ll be able to take advantage of Lincecum today.
First pitch today is at 1:35. Shane Victorino is a late scratch from the Phillies lineup today. The next two weeks are going to be wild, but they’re going to be best enjoyed if the Pirates are winning., so let’s see them finish the first half the right way today.