For almost a month now, I’ve been saying things like, “The Pirates aren’t quite collapsing yet, but they have to start playing better soon if they want to avoid a full-on collapse.” Or, “Well, it’s not quite time to panic but the Pirates are at some point going to have to stop playing bad baseball.”
We’ve reached “some point,” folks. The Pirates are two games behind the Cardinals with the Red Birds in town for a three-game set today. The distinct possibility now exists that the Pirates will end this series without a playoff spot really even being within shouting distance given the number of games left in the season. The Pirates absolutely have to avoid being swept, they really need to win two of these three, and really, it’d be best for them if they just won all three games and got themselves back into a playoff position as September ended.
Which is to say that if this baseball team has anything left in it, now is the time to show it. If Andrew McCutchen’s going to surge down the stretch, it has to start today. If AJ Burnett has a second wind in his bounceback season, we’ve got to see it tonight. Same goes for Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker, James McDonald, and the rest of the group. Tonight is the night that it has to turn around. Friday might be too late.
Burnett and Kyle Lohse take the mound tonight at 7:05.