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MLB

Pittsburgh Pirates Return To Action

PNC

Charles LeClaire – USA TODAY SPORTS

We now resume our regularly scheduled programming.

After two days of absolutely nothing, MLB resumes its season tonight with a full schedule of games.

While the players surely must enjoy the time off, fans are eagerly waiting for some baseball again. And specifically, Pittsburgh Pirate fans cannot wait to “get it on”, as the team looks to make a run at the postseason and lay the ghost of 20 years of sub-.500 baseball to rest once and for all.

Opening the second half with an important three-game series right off the bat against division rival Cincinnati Reds, the Pirates will send arguably their best, yet possibly least known, starter to the mound against Reds’ ace, Mike Leake. Two of the Pirates’ Francicso Liriano‘s three losses have come against Leake and the Reds, but the 29-year-old left-hander has pitched very well in both games, allowing only three runs on nine hits in his 12 innings of work against them. Leake has been better though, allowing just one run against the Bucs in his last 13 innings.

The Pirates need to start the second half of the season off the right way, by winning series and road games. The first half of the season saw the Pirates take 18 of 27 series (splitting three), while going 24-19 on the road. While playing good at PNC Park should be a given, the road is where the Pirates will be tested right away, as the series with the Reds marks the start of a 10-game road trip. If the Pirates can pass that test, they can head home with some momentum for an 11 game homestand, including an unusual as well as very big five-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals, whom they’ve been battling for first place in the Central division since June.

Five games head to head with the Cardinals could involve some significant changes in the standings should either team win more than three.

Stacey Kengal is a writer for RantSports.com covering the Pittsburgh Pirates. Follow him on Twitter @StaceyKengal, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.