Before we can worry about the trade deadline or the Reds or the Cardinals or the Braves of the Phillies, the Pirates have a three-game set against the Astros in Houston this weekend. As has been said ad nauseum of late, if the Pirates can’t take care of business against the Astros and their ilk, there’s not going to be much hope that they can stick in the NL Central race.
Jeff Karstens gets the ball tonight, hoping he can keep his amazing solo-homer rate going for one more night. The Astros are countering with the Ghost of Brett Myers’ career. First pitch tonight is at 8:05. The Pirates are a game behind the Cardinals, who start at 7:10 in Cincinnati tonight, and a half-game behind the Brewers, who are in the road in Colorado and start at 8:40. A win by the Pirates and two losses will have the Pirates in first place after the All-Star break.