For the first time in franchise history, the Pittsburgh Pirates have swept a four game series in the city of Milwaukee. Maybe just maybe the Bucs have solved the house of horrors.
Quick, look outside for flying pigs. Someone get Satan on the phone and ask if hell has frozen over. Anyone walk on water today? Why is all of this pertinent? Well, because the Pittsburgh Pirates have swept a four game series at their house of horrors: Miller Park.
Before the series began I said the Pirates had to solve their house of horrors this weekend, and they did that in a big way. After sweeping this four game series at Miller Park the Pittsburgh Pirates are now 67-61 overall on the season. They currently find themselves just half a game behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card spot.
Entering this weekend series the Pirates had lost nine straight games at Miller Park, and 64 of their last 81. However, this weekend things were much different. For the first time in franchise history, the Pirates swept a four game series in the city of Milwaukee.
Sunday’s 3-1 win was powered by two things. These two things were great pitching and solo home runs. Ivan Nova gave the Pirates a great start, the bullpen was lights out, and the offense did just enough.
Ivan Nova pitched six innings on Sunday, and allowed just one run on three hits and four strikeouts. Nova hit a batter, did not walk anyone, and allowed just his third home run in 31 1/3 innings pitched as a Pirate. In five Pirate starts Ivan Nova now has a 2.87 ERA, he has a 0.99 WHIP, and he has walked just one batter. Most importantly, the Pittsburgh Pirates are 5-0 in his five starts.
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Antonio Bastardo, Felipe Rivero, and Tony Watson all pitched scoreless innings in relief. All three of these pitchers did it with less than ten pitches to boot. As for Watson, this was his third save in as many opportunities this weekend.
While the Pirates did not get a lot of offense on Sunday afternoon, they got just enough. John Jaso (5) and Gregory Polanco (20) each hit solo home runs in the sixth inning. Then Starling Marte (8) would add one in the eighth. This was one of three hits on the day for Marte, who also stole his 44th base of the season in the Pirates’ victory.
What made Sunday’s victory even more satisfying is that the St. Louis Cardinals, Miami Marlins, and New York Mets all lost. Due to these outcomes, the Pirates are now a game ahead of the Marlins and two ahead of the Mets in the National League Wild Card standings. Most importantly though, the Pirates are now just half a game behind the Cardinals.
The Pirates and Cardinals are now tied in the loss column with 61 losses each. However, the Pirates have a game in hand over the Cardinals. These two teams have six games remaining against each other this season. Both of those series will go a long way toward determining who makes the postseason. So far in 2016 the Pirates are 8-5 against the Cardinals.
Next up for the Pittsburgh Pirates is a three game series at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs. Game one is at 8:05 PM on Monday night when Steven Brault opposes Jake Arrieta. The Pirates are just 1-5 at Wrigley Field this season.