Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
I imagine not many Pittsburgh Pirates fans were confident when the Brewers showed up to PNC Park, but the Pirates are one of the best home teams in the league for a reason and they followed up a very disappointing extra inning by winning three straight against the team that won seven in a row against them entering the series. The Pirates didn’t play their best series, but they did enough to win and they won in a variety of ways. They won a close game, a blowout and a huge come from behind win. That’s the Pirates in a nutshell; they find different ways to win every night.
This series was important for a variety of reason, the most prevalent being the Cardinals have not played very well lately and the Bucs have inched back into the NL Central race. They are now only two and a half games out of first place with three games remaining at home against their arch-rival. It was only a week ago that the NL Central seemed all but lost, but the Pirates are one of the most resilient teams in the league and they will scratch and claw to win the NL Central division because they’ve done the wildcard thing and they are over it.
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The other big reason this series was important was the Chicago Cubs also lost two games to the Phillies, which allowed the Pirates to pad the wildcard lead to four games. Obviously the goal is still the NL Central title, but you would much rather play the Cubs in PNC Park in a potential wildcard game. However, most fans would rather get the automatic berth into the NLDS and let the Cardinals and Cubs battle it out in a single elimination game.
The Pirates have a well deserved off day on Monday before the Cubs come into PNC Park to play four games in three days. The Cubs are only four back of the top wildcard spot and six a half games back of first place. The NL Central has become a true three team race and the Pirates must take care of business against a young and hungry Cubs team. If the Pirates want to catch the Cardinals, they must first beat the Cubs. September baseball is beautiful agony and PNC Park needs to be packed for the Cubs series as this may be the SECOND BIGGEST SERIES OF THE SEASON. The biggest obviously being when the Cardinals next come to PNC Park.
Series Result: Pirates win 3-1
2015 win/loss record: 86-56
2015 series record: 26-14-5