Just two short weeks ago, the Pittsburgh Pirates had possession of first place in the National League Central and were seven games above the a .500 winning percentage, a mark which has avoided the team for 18 long years. Ending that horrid streak was no longer the team’s goal; they were gunning for an actual playoff berth.
Today, they are 54-55, and have lost eight of nine games since the Jerry Meals incident. It would seem that finishing the season with as many wins as losses is once again becoming the overall season goal.
Tonight, the team will look to end its current six-game losing streak. James McDonald (7-5, 4.17) will take the mound for the Pirates.
McDonald has been solid since his rough start to the season. He accumulated a 3.14 ERA in July after posting 3.76 and 2.86 ERAs in June and May respectively. He leads the team in strikeouts with 99 in 114.1 IP.
The Cubs will send Rodrigo Lopez to the hill. Lopez is 2-3 with a 4.40 in 16 games with Chicago, though he has only started six of those. Lopez was rocked in his last start, giving up six runs off eight hits in 4.1 IP against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Ryan Doumit will return to the team’s starting lineup for the first time since May 29. He had a pinch hit strikeout to end last night’s game.
I hate to say it, but if the Pirates don’t pull this one out, there’s no way this team will make the playoffs. I know it’s a long season and we still have 53 games left, but with the way the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals are playing, the Pirates simply cannot afford a losing streak like this.
Hopefully my being in attendance can change things for the Pirates tonight.