The Pittsburgh Pirates have certainly been the “Battlin’ Bucs” this season, but if they are going to continue to hang around in both the National League Central and Wild Card, they must win this weekend series against the Cincinnati Reds at home.
The Pirates were able to come through on the first game of the series with a 2-1 come-from-behind thrilling victory at PNC Park Friday. After the Reds took a 1-0 lead in the eighth, the Pirates responded with a Josh Harrison RBI-triple and Jose Tabata run-scoring single in the bottom half. Mark Melancon shut the door on the Reds to close out the game.
The Pirates have a great chance to improve their standing in the division and in the Wild Card race because of the teams their opponents are also playing. The Milwaukee Brewers are in a series against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park and both of those teams stand in the way of the Pirates making the playoffs. The St. Louis Cardinals might not look like they would stand a great challenge with their weekend series, but the Chicago Cubs are looking like a team no one would want to mess with because of an offense that can score runs in the bunches. The Atlanta Braves also are taking on a team that is not only tough, but also vying to slip in on the NL Wild Card race. The Miami Marlins have a lot of young talent and Giancarlo Stanton is bashing everything out of the park.
The Pirates have to feel like they should take at least two of the three from the Reds. The team has Andrew McCutchen back, Harrison completely destroying the ball and playing great defense and the resilience to not only catch the teams in front, but also surpass them come season’s end.