For the last half-week or so, the Pirates have been winning ugly games against bad teams. I'm completely OK with this, so long as the wins keep coming. Francisco Liriano makes his third start for the Pirates tonight, and while the Cubs are not an intimidating lineup he did draw Pirate Killer Jeff Samardzija. Samardzija has cooled off a bit since his hot start and teams have gotten a bit homer-happy against him of late.
Since I seemed to have some good luck writing out my formula for last night's game, I'll try it again tonight: draw some walks against Samardzija and cash in on them, preferably with a multi-run home run. Make him throw some pitches so that he doesn't get deep into the game. Liriano, meanwhile, needs to get at least through the sixth and hopefully into the seventh, because the bullpen will be slightly short-handed with Jason Grilli unavailable after last night's marathon outing.
First pitch tonight is at 7:05. If the Reds and Cardinals are going to stubbornly keep on winning, what other choice do the Pirates have but to match them?
You said the the "Cubs are not an intimidating lineup". Their record doesn't prove it, but they rank 9th in runs scored so they must be doing something right. Leave it up to my Bucs to make their pitching staff look good yesterday only managing 3 hits. You are right about the Mets though. Anyone and everyone can beat them.
I'm dubious that Grilli will be "unavailable" if the Bucs have a 1 run lead in the 9th.
That said, I'm generally happy with how Hurdle has been managing. It's like he realized that he doesn't have a lineup of AAA hitters anymore, so he is more content to try for the big inning instead of bunting for one run as soon as he's got a runner on first.