First Place Pittsburgh Pirates Host Sliding San Francisco Giants


It’s Day Two of the Pittsburgh Pirates July hold on first place.

What a great ride. Having Jeff Karstens back in the rotation pitching like he is provides a spark–a big spark to the Bucs.

There is nothing quite like two minutes and sixteen seconds of staring at Jeff Karstens. Video from the PG

The Giants roll into Pittsburgh after being swept by the Washington Nationals. San Francisco’s pitching staff was absolutely destroyed by the Natitude of DC for 24 runs.

The G Men gave up a four run lead last night after seven at bats. The Nats stromed back and completed the sweep on a weak roller that couldn’t be turned into a double play off the bat of former Pirates first baseman Adam LaRoche, that allowed Bryce Harper to score the winning run.

Barry Zito goes against the Bucs hot lineup tonight at PNC, Zito has dropped three of his last four road starts—with an ERA of over 8, hell almost 9.

Zito is 1-3 with a 3.25 ERA in six starts against the Pirates, dropping two in the Burgh. The Bucs are a Major League best at home with a 27-13 mark.

Erik Bedard goes to the bump for the Buccos looking to get a win— Bedard has lost three of his past four, all of them on the road. But pitching in the friendly confines of PNC Park, Bedard has shined. His 2.31 home ERA tells the story for the left hander.

Andrew McCutchen also loves the home cooking of PNC Park. In his past eleven games at home, he is making Ted Williams blush. Cutch is ripping at a .525 clip with four bombs.

It will be tough for the Bucs to beat Zito tonight.   Against the arms of San Francisco, McCutchen does his worst hitting.  Let’s trust he can use his big numbers against lefties to break that trend this evening.

But for Zito, we think we need to ignore those big numbers he put up in his past three road starts, because there are some circumstances behind them that favored the opposition–at the Brew Crew, at Anaheim–which is playing like the old Colorado, and the DBacks, who can also slug it.

Bedard’s start tonight will be a big measuring stick for me. The lefty has pitched even better than his home ERA in his past few home starts.  Can he keep it up?

I think it will be a nail biter tonight in PNC.   The Pirates won’t have Hanrahan in the back end, so look for Jason Grilli should the game come down to the ninth inning.  Buckle up.    We like the Bucs to win 4-3.