The Pirates have won four in a row after stumbling a bit out of the All-Star break, but the team that they're chasing in the NL Central, the Reds, have won three in a row and eight of their last ten. That means that even though they've started this series against the Marlins with two wins, they might need to complete the sweep this afternoon to make sure they don't lose any ground in the division.
Anibal Sanchez goes for the Marlins today. After a strong start to his 2012 season, he's struggled since the beginning of June and he's gotten hit hard in quite a few of his starts since then. As I've been saying quite a bit lately, the Pirates have been very good at hitting pitchers hard. That said, Sanchez's made two pretty good starts coming out of the break so it'd be unwise to count him out from making a good start today. Jeff Karstens goes for the Bucs, looking to continue his excellent post-disabled list work.
First pitch is at 1:35. There is an outside chance that today's baseball ends with the Pirates having the National League's best record.
I'm 25 and I remember my father yelling "He was out! He was out!" in 1992. My favorite player when I was a kid was Andy Van Slyke (I'm from Syracuse, him from Utica, the city where my dad works). I'm so unbelievably happy the Pirates finally signed a big name instead of being a perpetual farm team for big market teams. Now look at them. They're well positioned to make at least the wild card and looking to BUY at the trade deadline. I'm just really happy, and so is Batman. Michael Keaton that is :)
Well, at least they gave Hanrahan a nice cushion for the inevitable adventure he's sure to make of ths inning.
Top of the 9th with Hammer. I am thinking a walk and a single, followed by a strike out and a double play.
So is this the first Sunday sell out at PNC this season? I tend to work on Sundays, but it always sounds like they have crowds in the neighborhood of 25k for the Sunday games.
Man, what a gift the Pirates got with Morrison held at 2nd. If that's played on a hop, Morrison probably scores.
@Carnegie Chip The fact that the last series of the year is against them at PNC makes me a tad uneasy.
The fact that is is mid-July and the Pittsburgh sports media isn't crying over the fact that Steelers training camp is still a few weeks away is a great testament to the Pirates team grabbing the attention of the city. The little things like the huge, standing ovations AJ gets when he comes off the field after a great pitching performance can only bring a smile to my lips.
Big sigh of relief getting out of that first inning. Thankfully, Karstens fielding brainfart didn't hurt the team.
While the Pirates haven't gained any ground on the Reds lately, the cool thing about being in contention and winning games is that you inevitably gain ground on SOMEONE. I mean, for every game the Reds have won lately, the Brewers have been on the losing end of that matchup. While no one is currently worried about the Brewers, it's still significant, as it pushes them farther and farther out of hope, making them a likelier seller at the deadline, which leads to a better trade market and an easier matchup later in the season when we play the Brewers again. Likewise with almost every game that isn't Rockies v. Padres: someone has to lose, and usually at least one team has some bearing on the Wild Card or trade market situation. I never before knew just how exciting baseball is when you're really competing for the playoffs! Every game in the NL has some level of import for the Bucs. This is sooooo fun.