Call it perfect timing. Call it ten bucks off tickets for getting swept by the Brewers. Maybe its StrollGate. The Bucs’ winning streak. Neil Walker bobblehead. Jim Leyland. Don Kelly. No TV coverage. A tenacious sales force led by Mr. Popovich.
But PNC Park will be fired up tonight.
A win against the Detroit Tigers would clinch another series win, and when the Pirates win the first game of a series they have won the series seven of eight times. But the Bucs will have to do it this time without the services of slugger Pedro Alvarez.
The Bucs will have another disadvantage as they face one of the toughest pitchers in the AL in Max Scherzer. He is unbeaten. His ERA is itsy-bitsy. And the world is supposed to end at 6pm, which means Pirates starter Kevin Correia might not even want to mess around warming up.
The one thing in the favor of the Pirates is the starters have allowed just 26 earned runs in the past eleven games/100 innings at PNC Park. In eight of those eleven games, the Bucs’ pitchers have held the bad guys to two or fewer runs.
The Bucs lineup, pre-rapture of course, has Cutch, Tabata, Jones, Hometown, Overbay, Doumit behind the plate, Wood at third, and Ronny #staythirsty Cedeno in the eight hole. Chris Snyder gets another night on the bench with Dewey swinging the hot bat.
If the Pirates can get Scherzer to have some big pitch counts in the early innings of the game, their chances will soar. Cross your fingers, this will be an uphill climb.
Pedro DL report by Colin Dunlap