Once upon a time, however briefly, the Pirates were the favorites to win the second wild card in the National League. Then, they slipped and for a little while, they were a team that was frustratingly failing to take advantage of their competitors poor play. Then they collapsed. Now they're still playing pretty poorly, and they're 2 1/2 games out of the final wild card spot with 16 games left, in a cluster of four teams within 2 1/2 games of that final spot. That makes them a real longshot at this point.
Maybe that will sit better with them than being the favorites. Who knows? For now, though, the Pirates are a team that hasn't beaten someone other than the Astros or Cubs since August 29th. If they can't manage that task this week against the Brewers, it's unequivocally over. For real this time.
Goal 1: Keep that from happening.
First pitch tonight is at 7:05. Sleepwalking Pirates vs. Brewers. AJ Burnett vs. Yovani Gallardo.