The Pirates finished last month with a 15-13 mark, their best record for the month of May in years. June hasn’t started out all that bad either. The Bucs took two of three games from the Milwaukee Brewers this past weekend, securing their first winning series at Miller Park since April 2010. They are now 27-26 on the season, and are just three games back of the N.L. Central division leading Cincinnati Reds.
There’s no denying that the pitching has been the difference maker this season so far, keeping the team afloat and consistently giving the offense the chance to come back, night after night. However, playing in a hitter’s ballpark like they have in Milwaukee, something had to give this weekend…and something did. The Pirates scored 15 runs over the weekend, including an eight-run outburst on Friday and a six-run attack on Sunday, to claim their first series in Milwaukee in over two years. Yesterday alone, the Bucs used the long ball four times, including round-trippers from Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones, Rod Barajas, and Clint Barmes.
It was exciting to see Barmes break out with a pair of big hits yesterday, as well as Barajas continue his strong month + of hitting. Neil Walker has also been swinging a solid bat as well, as is Garrett Jones. Now if only Jose Tabata and Pedro Alvarez could be a bit more consistent at the plate, look out opposing pitching staffs.
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Still, the Pirates’ offensive is frustratingly inconsistent. A couple strong nights at the plate don’t change the fact that this team is carried by its pitching staff. But it is very inspiring to see this lineup start to deliver in big situations with a little more regularity.
Now, the Bucs continue to their recent stretch against the N.L. Central with another three-game series against the first place Reds, whom the Pirates took two of three from at PNC Park last week. The two teams have been very evenly matched in their head-to-head games so far this year. It’s no surprise the Reds are leading the division at this point though, with the stacked lineup including Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, as well as Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs.
While it is only the first week of Junes, there’s no denying that this is a big series for the Pirates.
Pirates (27-26) vs. Reds (30-23)
About The Reds…
30-23 Record, 1st In N.L. Central
Last Series: 2-1 Series Victory @ Houston Astros
6/5 – A.J. Burnett (PIT) (4-2, 3.60 ERA, 42 K, 14 BB, WHIP 1.24) vs. Homer Bailey (CIN) (4-3, 3.73 ERA, 45 K, 18 BB, WHIP 1.26)
6/6 – Brad Lincoln (PIT) (3-0, 1.04 ERA, 26 K, 8 BB, WHIP 0.92) vs. Johnny Cueto (CIN) (5-3, 2.54 ERA, 46 K, 18 BB, WHIP 1.25)
6/7 – Kevin Correia (PIT) (2-5, 4.19 ERA, 20 K, 19 BB, WHIP 1.22) vs. Mike Leake (CIN) (2-5, 4.95 ERA, 38 K, 18 BB, WHIP 1.44)
Quotes From Both Sides:
[box_dark] “Reversing the trend here is one of the things remaining on my to-do list from the 2011 stuff.” [/box_dark]
Clint Hurdle on the Pirates’ struggles at Milwaukee’s Miller Park the past few years
[box_dark] “It’s not easy (when you) give another major league team a three or four spot in the first inning.” [/box_dark]
Reds’ pitcher Jordan Lyles on giving up the early lead to the Houston Astros on Sunday
The Pirates are 7-2 in their last nine games against the N.L. Central and have won three straight series against the Chicago Cubs, Reds, and Brewers. They’ll look to continue that impressive stretch this week in Cincinnati before embarking on an extensive Interleague Play schedule beginning this weekend at PNC Park.
Be sure to check back here for the latest recaps and reactions to every Pirates’ game from us, the Fans From The Stands!
Let’s Go Bucs!
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