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So far, the Pittsburgh Pirates have done what they need to do in the absence of Andrew McCutchen – win games.  They took two of three from the Miami Marlins at PNC Park, and now they welcome the San Diego Padres to town for a three game weekend series.

In addition to their MVP centerfielder, the Pirates have also been without Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez.  But against Miami, the offense certainly wasn’t hurting, tallying 17 runs in three games.  But the key to this past series, as well as to the rest of the season, was the starting pitching.  The trio of Charlie Morton, Jeff Locke, and Edinson Volquez was solid against the Marlins, and the Bucs will aim for that same type of efficiency this weekend on the north shore.

The Padres have the best pitching staff, ERA-wise, in the National League, yet they enter play tonight with a 52-61 record.  They split a two game series with the Minnesota Twins after beating up the slumping Atlanta Braves at Petco Park last weekend.

Seth Smith and Everth Cabrera lead the Padres in nearly every offensive category.  Smith has a .290 average with 12 homeruns and 34 RBIs, while Cabrera enters play with a .229 average with 3 homeruns and 20 RBIs.  Needless to say, this is a bad offense, one that should aid the Pirates pitching staff this weekend.

Even without McCutchen, Walker, and Alvarez for however long, this is a team in the Padres that the Pirates need to beat while they’re down.  The pitching has been solid for San Diego, but the offense has been non-existent.  For the second time this home stand, the Pirates welcome in an inferior opponent, and they need to take advantage of that, aka winning AT LEAST two games this weekend.

San Diego Padres (52-61, 3rd In N.L. West) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (61-53, 3rd In N.L. Central)

8/8 – Ian Kennedy (SD) (8-9, 3.59 ERA, WHIP 1.23) vs. Vance Worley (PIT) (4-1, 2.43 ERA, WHIP 1.10)

8/9 – Eric Stults (SD) (4-13, 4.94 ERA, WHIP 1.42) vs. Francisco Liriano (PIT) (3-7, 3.91 ERA, WHIP 1.34)

8/10 – Tyson Ross (SD) (10-10, 2.62 ERA, WHIP 1.18) vs. Charlie Morton (PIT) (5-10, 3.43 ERA, WHIP 1.23)

The Pirates have a good opportunity to win another series at home against an inferior opponent this weekend.  This series against the Padres will be crucial to win, as the schedule becomes much more difficult from here through the end of the season.

Be sure to check back here for the latest recaps and reactions to each and every game from us, the Fans From The Stands!


As Always…

Let’s Go Bucs!