After yesterday's Most Important Game of the Year, the Pirates are playing today's Most Important Game of the Year on ESPN (at least, for those of us not in Pittsburgh; I believe you still have the game on ROOT if you're back on the home front) as they wrap up their season set with the Cardinals. As the McEffect points out this afternoon, this game has implications beyond the Pirates either being one or three games back of the Cardinals with the playoff race; it decides the season series with the Cards (the Pirates and Cardinals are 7-7 against each other this year) and that will play a role tiebreaker seeding, should the two teams end the season with the same record as part of two or three-way tie for a wild card spot. Bottom line: this game is important for a bunch of reasons.
That means that it'd be a good time for Wandy Rodriguez to step up with his first good start as a Pirate. Of course, if the Pirate offense shows up like it did last night, maybe it won't matter how good Wandy is. Last night's 9-0 win was cathartic; another drubbing of the Cardinals this evening on national TV would be downright hope-inspiring.
First pitch tonight is at 7:05. Joe Kelly, who is the guy that dominated the Pirates in long relief during the 19-inning marathon, is Wandy's mound opponent.
THAT is what a baseball team is supposed to look like on National TV! Big win, all around good game (with the exception of 'Cutch getting thrown out trying to steal second and Pedro doubling later in the at bat). I'm still going to go back to J-Hey plowing over Molina as the "Get us back in it" play that gets this team playing ball again. Keep the streak going!