In our daily Wake-Up Call, we get you ready for the day with a complete look at all things Pittsburgh Pirates.
During the 2013 season, seemingly every series in August and September was “The biggest series in PNC Park history.” I am not ready to say this upcoming series against the St. Louis Cardinals is the most vital series ever, but I would wager it is the most important of the season so far.
The Cardinals come to town with an identical 56-53 record as the Pirates and are looking to jumpstart their season and get back into the playoff race. The Pirates are still technically alive in the NL Central race, but I would wager their best path to the postseason is, the Wildcard and currently the Cardinals are one of the teams vying for that One Game Playoff. The Pirates have a great opportunity to firmly put their foot on the neck of the Cardinals and hopefully, they can take advantage.
Tonight’s game should be one of the best of the season in terms of atmosphere as Chris Archer is set to make his Pirates debut. The Pirates have made trades before and brought excitement and important players into the fold for the home stretch, but nothing compares to Chris Archer. Archer is not having the best season in terms of ERA, but no one can deny that he is one of the most talented starting pitchers in baseball when he’s on.
It’s also important to note that Chris Archer spent his entire career in the AL East and this season, both the Yankees and Red Sox have elite-level offenses, so Archer’s numbers should improve by simply getting out of that division. Getting to face one less professional hitter should also prove to be an advantage for Archer.
Archer is certainly far more the pitcher with the 3.63FIP than he is the pitcher with the 4.31ERA. I expect you will see a lot more good than bad when the new number 24 takes the mound at PNC Park.
There is no way to predict how the season is going to play out, but on paper the Pirates are in a better position than they were prior to the Trade Deadline. However, games aren’t won on paper and it’s time for the Pirates to go to work and continue to win. The team set itself up to be buyers because of their good play, but now it’s time to finish the job. This team has the talent to make the playoffs, but talent alone won’t be enough.
During the Pirates June-swoon, I said I wanted meaningful baseball in August and September and right now, it seems I got my wish. Ladies and gentlemen, a pennant race has returned to the North Shore. I know it feels like forever since the team was in a playoff race, but it’s only been a few years. Hopefully, the fans remember how to #PackPNC because there is nothing as exciting as a full ballpark when the team is competing for a chance to win the World Series. The Pirates played well enough to be buyers, management added vital reinforcement, now it’s time for the fans to do their part. Either way, it’s going to be a fun final two months of the 2018 season.
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