Going into play on Friday night the Pittsburgh Pirates will hold a 1.5 game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central division. That isn’t a huge lead but it is big enough for the Pirates to really go into the series with an aggressive frame of mind. They would have to get swept to not leave town in first place by at least one half game over the Cards. Considering the playoff atmosphere that will exist in the Cardinals home ballpark, I think newcomer Justin Morneau will heed his first chance to shine in a pressure situation.
Morneau has played in tough baseball games before of course. He is a well accomplished veteran but to play for a team that is trying to win their division in one of the greatest ballparks in MLB in St. Louis, you have to believe that Morneau is going to be feeling it. I would look for him to take charge in at least one game of the series and show by the end of the tree game set why the Pirates bringing him and Marlon Byrd in could have sealed the deal for them.
If the Pirates were to sweep the series which seems unlikely, they would be a comfy three and a half games on top of the Cards but would also have the Cincinnati Reds to deal with. Assuming the best they will do is win two of three, they’ll come out 2.5 games up. Regardless of the final score or how many games they win of the three, Morneau is bound to be a factor in a big way.