The Pittsburgh Pirates had answered a lot of questions when they started off the West Coast trip with a 4-1 record. But thanks to Ryan Vogelsong, Tim Lincecum and the Giants offense, the Bucs trip quickly was knocked to 4-3. Not bad considering the questions when the team boarded the flight to San Diego, but not satisfying enough for a win-thirsty fanbase.
The final week of August will be the most interesting one in a long, long time. After the MTV Video Music Award spectacle last night, we couldn’t help but look back to VMAs back in 1992 as our reference point. Sir Elton John and Axl Rose, Slash…Guns N Roses, all on the same stage. Sorry kids, That was tremendous.
For the most part, baseball in Pittsburgh hasn’t been enjoyable since Axl and Elton took the stage. The Bucs were wrapping up the last known winning season.
This week, the Pirates will attempt to solidify their hold on first place. The team could actually be in second place when they take the field against the Milwaukee Brewers tomorrow night. (Or could hold sole possession of first place, as the Cardinals will be playing the Reds beginning tonight. Go Cincy? Ugh.)
It’s pretty simple looking at the road ahead. The Cardinals and Reds have some serious battles within the division. They play one another seven of the next ten games, but each have some seemingly easy games outside of the division with the likes of the Rockies, Mets, trade-deadline Indian-giving Mariners and the Lastros dotting their schedules.
The Pirates lineup that will start a six game homestand against the Brew Crew and Cardinals will look different from the team that has captured the hearts of Pittsburgh. The biggest hit to the lineup was announced when Starling Marte hit the disabled list. Andrew Lambo is back. Jose Tabata is being looked to to provide production and he has done so, but of course not at the Marte level so the angst grows. Felix Pie is in the Burgh.
The pitching staff will need to be better than ever at PNC Park. With Francisco Liriano’s recent outing, some un-Shark Tank-like performances from the bullpen and the new additions to the lineup, the terror could be setting in should the Bucs falter against the Brewers.
Some of the most important things that could happen this week might be the following. The Waiver Trade Deadline and Postseason eligibility list deadline is 11:59 EST on August 31. On September 1, MLB rosters can expand to the max of 40 players. A new outright waiver period in which secured waivers are good for seven days kicks in.
We wouldn’t expect the Bucs to add all of the players from AAA at once, but some more help is on the way. Perhaps an addition to the pitching staff or even a Justin Morneau deal could be completed. With a winning streak, the Pirates could reach that elusive 82 win mark.
But most importantly, Marte will be fresh for the run. The last thing Pittsburgh needs with the Steelers looking so awful is November Rain. Get well soon Starling.
Let’s Go Bucs.