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For the Pittsburgh Pirates, the time is now.  They are 78 games into a 162 game season, nearly halfway through, and they sit at an even 39-39.  They are currently in fourth place in the N.L. Central, trailing the first place Milwaukee Brewers by eight games.  They are also behind five teams and are 3.5 games back in the Wild Card race.  Yes, the time for the Pirates to make a move is now.

Fortunately, the schedule seems to favor the chances of a Pirates surge here before the All Star Break.  After taking four of six games from the Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Rays on the road this week, the Pirates return home to PNC Park for a four game series against the New York Mets.

New York is led by David Wright, hitting at a .278 clip with six homeruns and 40 RBI, as well as Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda, and Curtis Granderson.  The Bucs will face two of their best pitchers so far this season in Bartolo Colon and Jonathon Niese.  Overall, though, this is a team that the Pirates should be far superior against on paper as well as on the field.

Suddenly, the Pirates have one of the more impressive offensive lineups in the National League.  Provided Starling Marte is healthy, the lineup of him sandwiched between Gregory Polanco and Andrew McCutchen to lead off the game is unbelievably threatening to an opposing pitcher.  And now that Neil Walker is healthy and back in the lineup, as well as Russell Martin, Ike Davis, and Pedro Alvarez, and…wow.  Still though, the key for the Bucs will be starting pitching.  Gerrit Cole was activated and will start on Saturday.  That is a huge boost for this rotation, who is desperate need of long outings, especially considering the struggles from the bullpen.

This is a big series for the Pirates.  Considering where they are in the standings and the talent they’ve accumulated offensively, this is a series they should win no less than three games.

New York Mets (36-42, 4th In N.L. East) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (39-39, 4th In N.L. Central)

6/26 – Daisuke Matsuzaka (NYM) (3-1, 2.68 ERA, WHIP 1.26) vs. Vance Worley (PIT) (1-0, 0.76 ERA, WHIP 1.04)

6/27 – Jacob deGrom (NYM) (1-4, 3.75 ERA, WHIP 1.42) vs. Brandon Cumpton (PIT) (3-2, 4.93 ERA, WHIP 1.38)

6/28 – Jon Niese (NYM) (4-4, 2.78 ERA, WHIP 1.16) vs. Gerrit Cole (PIT) (6-3, 3.64 ERA, WHIP 1.30)

6/29 – Bartolo Colon (NYM) (8-5, 3.67 ERA, WHIP 1.15) vs. TBA (PIT)

The Pirates will look to continue their strong play this weekend against the Mets in a four game series at PNC Park.  For the latest news and updates, as well as recaps and reactions to each and every game this weekend, check back right here to Fans From The Stands.

 

And…

As Always…

Let’s Go Bucs!