I know that I said something similar last summer, but the strangest thing about watching a good baseball team is the knowledge that they have to be good pretty much every night of the season if they want to be a playoff team. In most years, if the Pirates showed up twice a week that was a reason for celebration.
That means that the Pirates have just reeled off three straight wins against one of the American League's best teams, and their reward is now they have to play three games against one of the National League's best teams. If they don't play well, they'll find themselves dropping in the standings. You know how hot the Pirates are right now (16 wins in their last 20 games!), so let me tell you how hot the Reds are: they'd won 14 of their last 17 before dropping two straight against the Indians to close out their four-game set with Cleveland. Joey Votto's OBP is .466 and Shin-Soo Choo's is .449. As a team, they reach base at a .337 clip. In terms of runs scored, they're tied with the Rockies and also in a virtual tie with the Cardinals in terms of runs per game (the Cards lead the Reds and Rockies 4.77 to 4.74) Their pitching staff leads the NL in strikeouts and is fourth in runs allowed. The Cardinals have rightly garnered a lot of attention and obviously the Pirates have a great record, but when it's all said and done I think the Reds might be the best team in the National League.
Of course, that was all Logical Pat talking. Fired Up Pirate Fan Pat says: screw that! Kick the crap out of the Reds this weekend, and who knows what happens next! Pirate Killer Johnny Cueto takes the mound against Wandy Rodriguez. First pitch is at 7:05. This weekend, the Yankees are playing the Red Sox and the Braves are playing the Nationals, and neither matchup has as many combined wins as the Pirates/Reds series.