If I'm being perfectly honest with all of you, the main thing that I wanted to see the Pirates do this weekend was play better baseball than the Reds for most of the weekend. As I've been saying for a few days now, I'd love for that playoff game to be at PNC Park on Tuesday, but I also realize that the outcome of that game is much more important than where the game is located (of course, I say this as a guy in North Carolina without tickets to the wild card game on Tuesday, so take that for what it's worth).
Really, the Reds terrify me. I thought before the season that they were the most talented team in the National League and I think that that still might be true, records aside. The Pirates entered this series with an 8-8 record against the Reds, but it's only 5-8 since April. The April sweep that the Pirates of the Reds at PNC is the only series the Bucs have won against them this year (they split one at Great American in June), and in general whenever the Pirates play the Reds I, as a fan, feel like they're overmatched in a sense that I don't get against many other teams. Last weekend was the icing on that cake; the Pirates dominated play for most of Friday and all of Saturday and still managed to lose two of three in the series.
Of course, all of this stuff is in my head and is a lot of personal playoff neuroses showing through and I realize that what I think doesn't have any bearing on the team or the outcome of these games. But what i'm trying to say is: the Pirates played a wire-to-wire game tonight, where they were better than the Reds in all aspects. AJ Burnett cruised through eight innings, the defense made some nice plays and turned some double plays behind him, Pedro Alvarez hit a baseball a million feet (estimate), and even Jason Grilli came out and nailed down (well, relative term — he struck Joey Votto out on a check swing that was very nearly a full swing, but neither the home plate nor third base umpire decided to call that a strike, Votto singled instead, and then was erased on a real nice double play started by Alvarez and turned by Walker) a save against Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and Jay Bruce.
And so what I'm trying to say is this: that was a nice win. The Pirates have 92 wins. If they get to 93, the playoffs will come to PNC Park next week.