Now that we’re essentially down to two months of regular season baseball left and the National League is still clumped to the point that there are legitimately seven or eight teams that could finish the season in the playoffs (or even with the NL’s best record), the Pirates’ schedule basically breaks down like this: teams that the should beat to pick up as many wins as possible, and teams that they need to beat to pick up games in the standings. Except for the home-and-home with Detroit in a couple of weeks, that’s pretty much the only two types of games the Pirates will have from here on out, so long as they stay in contention.
This road trip that got off to such an ugly start continues this week through San Francisco and Arizona. San Francisco is a “need-t0-beat” team, as they’re currently the NL’s second wild card team, 1 1/2 games up on the Pirates. They’ve lost four in a row, though, and really, they haven’t been playing well at all since hitting 42-21 back on June 8th. Since then, they’re 16-27. Finding a way to get two of three in this series would be a really excellent result for the Pirates, and it would help wash away a lot of the bad taste from the just-concluded series in Colorado.
There is a problem, though. The Pirates continue to attract left-handed pitchers like a magnet, and tonight they face Madison Bumgarner, who’s logarithmically better than all of the lefties on the Rockies that have mostly shut the Pirates down over the last two weeks. The Pirates will counter with Vance Worley. It is not a coincidence that Gerrit Cole’s rehab start in Indianapolis is being paired with Worley’s start tonight.
The first pitch tonight is at 10:15.