The Pirates and Braves go at it at 12:10 this afternoon, with the Pirates looking to avoid their first sweep since their ugly trip to Los Angeles back at the beginning of April. The Pirates are not playing well right now; they've lost two in a row and four of their last five. It's worth noting, though, that you don't have to pull your focus back that far to put things in a better perspective. If the Pirates can win today, they'll still go 5-5 against the Tigers, Reds, and Braves over their last ten games. I think we all would've taken that ten days ago. Either way, the Pirates will have at least 35 wins in their first 60 games, with two off-days sandwiched around a weekend at Wrigley directly ahead.
That being said: I think we'll all feel better about the Pirates with a win this afternoon. Wandy Rodriguez takes the mound for the Pirates against Julio Teheran. Teheran's been much-improved since the last time the Pirates saw him, but I think there's still an opportunity for the offense to break out today in a way that hasn't happened in a while. Rodriguez is coming off of a pretty solid May, and he pitched very well against the Braves back in April. Breaking out of a slump always starts with one game.