Pittsburgh Pirates face Cardinals in crucial 3-game set

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Aug 9, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (C) celebrates his two run home run in the dugout against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the fifth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Before we go any further – Rum Bunter Radio recorded a special Pirates/Cards preview episode last night. Here it is for your listening pleasure:

So now that we’ve set the table, can the Pirates actually win this series?

I believe they will.

“Momentum” is the absolute hardest thing to quantify in any sport, but that’s especially true in Baseball. With a 162 game season that has its lulls and its high points, statistics can usually tell you the story about a team, simply because of the long schedule providing an adequate sample size that you just don’t find in other sports.

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Having said that, it is impossible not to realize that this Pittsburgh Pirates team is trending upward off of the back of a statement series against a legitimate National League contender in the Los Angeles Dodgers. While many don’t believe in momentum overall, I believe in it. And I especially believe that it can help a team “get up” for such a critical series as this. In the dog days of summer – after the hoopla of the trade deadline and with one eye towards the stretch run – that could be enough to put a team over the top.

Of course, the Cardinals will have some of that same motivation, and Mike Matheny is too good of a manager not to have his team ready. Still, the mental edge goes to the Pirates in this one. The best thing going for this Pirates team is the result the last time they faced the redbirds. We all know what happened then.

And I believe some similar magic is going to happen again.

I’m predicting a 2-1 series win for the Pirates. I would not be surprised if the Pirates won all three. With Andrew McCutchen, Jung Ho Kang and others playing at a high level, I expect the Pirates offense to greatly out-produce the Cardinals’ and that will push the series towards the Pirates favor.

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