I've been traveling for the last couple of days, which is why I haven't posted much of anything. Let's get caught up.
The Pirates have logged two narrow victories over the Mets in the last two days, which has them tied again with the Cardinals the day before the All-Star Break. I told you on Friday that everything would be fine if the Pirates swept the Mets.
In order to get that sweep, Gerrit Cole will be taking the mound this afternoon instead of Jeff Locke, because Locke's been dealing with lower back soreness will scratch him both from today's start and the All-Star Game. You can tell this is a game that the Pirates want to win, because of Cole's presence on the mound. The Pirates had previously discussed demoting him for a week and a half or so to stay on a regular schedule over the break; that probably won't happen now. He's on regular rest today because of Thursday's off-day.
After last night's 2-for-4 with a homer performance, Andrew McCutchen's hitting .301/.378/.471. I'll make a prediction right here: if he finishes 2013 with that OPS and the Pirates win the Central, he'll win the MVP award whether or not he ever truly gets "hot" the way he did last summer.
I'll have a longer recap of the first half posted for tomorrow. For now, enjoy the end of the first half. A Pirate win, and they'll go into the break either tied or alone with the best record in the NL. A Pirate loss and, well, it's still been a pretty solid first half. First pitch today is 1:35. Gerrit Cole and Dillon Gee are on the mound.