Pittsburgh Pirates Look To Save Their Season vs. Cardinals


The Pittsburgh Pirates’ season is dangling by a thread right now after being swept in a humiliating three-game series at home vs. the Brewers. Now, division rival and Wild Card spot holder St. Louis comes to town for a weekday series that could very well make or break the team’s season. Let us analyze what to watch for:

Well, Pittsburgh Pirates fans, it seems as though our season is coming to a fork in the road. The Pirates are 67-67 (.500) and (miraculously) only 3.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot. It seems as though our team has two options: find a way to kick it into high gear and ride that train until the end of the season or lay down and die. We know they’re not going to quit, but after losing six games in a row, the postseason dreams are looking more like nightmares.

Everything can be turned around with a good series win, or even a sweep, this week against the St. Louis Cardinals. St. Louis is 71-64 (.526) and are coming off of a series loss to the NL Central doormat Cincinnati Reds. The Pirates can pull within a half game of the second Wild Card spot with a sweep this week, so here is what to watch out for.

Pitching Matchups

Monday: Adam Wainwright (9-8, 4.53) vs. Chad Kuhl (3-2, 3.70)

Tuesday: Luke Weaver (1-2, 3.86) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (3-4, 3.56)

Wednesday: Alex Reyes (1-0, 1.35) vs. Jameson Taillon (3-4, 3.25)

This series doesn’t have any pitching match-ups that catch your attention, but something to notice is that the Cards are running out a lot of inexperienced starting pitching. Adam Wainwright is obviously not included in this observation, seeing as he is 35 years old and has started 248 games in his career. But Luke Weaver and Alex Reyes combine for only six career starts, 41 innings pitched, and 45 years of age. Pitching in September in a heated Wild Card race is not for the faint of heart, so it may do wonders for the Buccos if they can get under the two youngsters’ skins early on.

More from Rum Bunter

Players to Watch

Pittsburgh Pirates: John Jaso and Starling Marte

I have to admit that I had lost most of my faith in John Jaso after that baserunning debacle down in Atlanta. Even before that, he had began to overwhelmingly underperform. At the start of the season, it seemed as though we had found a good player with a high on-base percentage to bat leadoff for us, but that plan seems to have fallen through. With Jaso losing his regular starter’s position, he needs to find a niche and play that role to the best of his ability. He seems to have found that role as a pinch hitter, another productive bat off the bench along with Matt Joyce. Jaso’s relief off the bench, giving the Bucs a few clutch hits here and there, could mean the difference between winning and losing a tight game.

This is more of a matchup to watch. Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina vs. Starling Marte. Catcher vs. baserunner. We all know Marte loves to swipe a bag basically every time he gets on first base. He is third in the NL in stolen bases with 47. But, if you’ve ever stood near a Cardinals fan for ten minutes, you’ve probably heard all about how Yadier Molina is God’s gift to throwing out baserunners. Even though Molina isn’t having his best season in terms of catching would-be basestealers, he is still definitely one that runners will think twice about running on. It is certainly a match-up to keep your eyes on.

More from Rum Bunter

St. Louis Cardinals: Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong

As much as it pains me to say it, Matt Carpenter is just really good. Even though he isn’t having the best season of his career by any stretch of the imagination, he is still a threat every time he steps up to the plate. The Pirates’ pitching staff will have to look to keep him quiet all series if we are to steal a series win from St. Louis.

It seems like every team has that one player who isn’t very good but always destroys the Pirates. For the Cardinals, this is Kolten Wong. Whether it’s a diving play at second base or a mammoth home run (or three), he always turns up as the guy who sinks our gameplan. The Pirates should really hope he plays like the Kolten Wong who is hitting .242 this season, and not the Kolten Wong who hit the walkoff home run last year off of Radhames Liz to beat the Bucs in the 14th inning. I still see that bat flip in my nightmares.

Final Verdict

This might be it for the Bucs. This series is really sink or swim. If the Pirates get swept this series, I don’t think there is any coming back from that. This will be some fun September baseball at PNC Park, just the way it should be.


The Pirates will revitalize their playoff dreams with a series victory over the St. Louis Cardinals and pull themselves closer to that second Wild Card spot.

Related Story: It is Gut Check Time!

The Cardinals thought they would come into PNC and leave with a sweep under their belts, but they were Wong.

I’m sorry. I had to.

Go Bucs.