This weekend will be the last time the Pirates and Cardinals see each other in the regular season, which means everything must be left on the field. Who knows what will happen from here on out. However, one thing is for sure, whichever team comes away with at least two wins this weekend could be the favorite to win the division.
It will take a solid effort from every single player on the team for Pittsburgh to clinch their first division crown since 1992. That all begins with starting pitcher A.J. Burnett when he takes the mound against the Cardinals Friday night.
The right-hander is 3-0 with a 2.59 earned run average and 33 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings against St. Louis this season. However, he has surrendered seven earned runs in 10 1/3 innings at Busch Stadium in 2013, which is where the contest will be played. The good news is he has kept the Cardinals to a .188 batting average this year.
“That’s a pretty good lineup, so I’m just trying to keep the ball down, get ahead … then expand the strike zone a bit,” Burnett said after Saturday’s win against the Cardinals, according to Pirates.com. “But you can’t let down against that lineup, because that’s when they get you.”
If anything, the series will be a good test for both teams down the stretch. Regardless of who wins the division, there is a good chance Pittsburgh and St. Louis will both clinch a postseason berth.