Pirates vs. Cubs: Enter the Gauntlet
08.03.15 Posted by Chris
Liriano vs. Lester, 7:10 PM
Play time’s over. After what should have been a brief respite in Cincinnati (IE: taking three of four from a flailing Reds team), the Bucs now play 12 games and four series’ against good-to-great NL competition. I mentioned back when the Reds series started that the next stretch had us playing four teams with a combined winning percentage just shy of .560. Since then, the Mets have won three in a row, the Dodgers four in a row, and the Cubs five in a row. Now the mark stands at .570.
Before moving onto anything approaching analysis, I’m going to link you to an entry I wrote back in 2013 called Who Good Teams Beat. I’m doing this in case you’re one of the people who thinks that good teams are supposed to win lots of games against other good teams, and that failing to do so in this stretch means the Pirates are not that good. It won’t mean that at all.
What it will mean, though, is that any faint hope of winning the division will probably be gone. I realize a handful of fans came to this conclusion months ago, but our ridiculous run leading up to the All-Star break was a shining example of why you shouldn’t make those kinds of predictions so early in the season.
Well, it ain’t early any more, and I feel pretty comfortable saying that, if at the end of the Cardinals series next week, we haven’t gotten that 5.5 game deficit now to something like 3.5, you can probably go ahead and reserve those Wild Card game tickets at PNC Park. Unless this stretch goes really badly, in which case you might need to pack a bag.
Tonight, it’s one of the Big Two (previously known as: the Big Three) in Francisco Liriano. He goes up against Jon Lester. Cole isn’t starting this series, and both Jeff Locke and J.A. Happ are, so this is a pretty important game, series-wise. And, if you care about this sort of thing, both the playoff implications and the high level pitching matchup has attracted the attention of something called the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, which is broadcasting the game nationally.
First pitch is at 7:10 PM.
Filed under: everybody freak out, Francisco Liriano, game preview