After nearly getting swept by the Cubs at PNC Park, the Pirates are in Houston tonight to take on the NL Central’s other doormat. The Astros have lost nine games in a row and they’ve only won twice since June 28th. They are ridiculously bad right now and that badness is part of the reason that the Pirates are 2 1/2 games behind the Reds in the NL Central. Still, the Pirates are not nearly as good away from PNC Park as they are in it and they’ve already lost a series in Houston once this year. Now is not the time to coast.
Starling Marte makes his Pirate debut tonight, batting leadoff and playing left field. It’s really been interesting to see all of his old minor league teammates wish him luck on Twitter this afternoon; almost to a man they mention how fun he is to watch play. AJ Burnett pitches against Dallas Keuchel. The first pitch is at 8:05.