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The Pittsburgh Pirates are a tough team to define.  Through the first month of the season, the pitching was leading the way for the Bucs.  After all, the offense was beyond terrible to begin the year, barely managing to scrap together a couple runs per game.  But performances from Erik Bedard, Kevin Correia, James McDonald, Charlie Morton, and even A.J. Burnett (in limited appearances) kept the team in the game nearly every time out on the field.

Then the Pirates traveled to Busch Stadium for the first time this season, and, well the pitching took a major step in the wrong direction.  The St. Louis Cardinals bombarded the Pirates’ pitching staff, including starters Morton and Burnett, in the first two games of the series for 22 total runs.  The Pirates responded well yesterday and avoided the sweep with a 6-3 victory conclude a 3-4 road trip.

Pedro Alvarez and Jose Tabata were the hitting stars for the Pirates on this trip.  With guys like Clint Barmes and Garrett Jones tallying a few timely hits as well, this offense may be on the way to officially breaking out.  Andrew McCutchen, who was pulled from yesterday’s game with stomach flu symptoms, as well as Neil Walker, is due to get hot at the plate as well.  This could become a dangerous offense. 

The Pirates will be tested this weekend against a power-studded Cincinnati Reds’ lineup that has underachieved a bit this season.

Reds (12-12) vs. Pirates (11-14)

About The Reds…

12-12 Record, 2nd In N.L. Central

Last Series:  1-1 Series Split vs. Chicago Cubs

Pitching Matchups:

5/4 – Johnny Cueto (CIN) (3-0, 1.39 ERA, 22 K, 7 BB, WHIP 1.05) vs. Kevin Correia (PIT) (1-1, 2.42 ERA, 9 K, 8 BB, WHIP 1.03)

5/5 – Mike Leake (CIN) (0-3, 6.65 ERA, 9 K, 5 BB, WHIP 1.57) vs. James McDonald (PIT) (1-1. 2.97 ERA, 24 K, 11 BB, WHIP 1.05)

5/6 – Mat Latos (CIN) (1-2, 5.97 ERA, 18 K, 10 BB, WHIP 1.57) vs. Charlie Morton (PIT) (1-2, 4.22 ERA, 15 K, 6 BB, WHIP 1.45)

Quotes From Both Sides

[box_dark] “It didn’t look good there for awhile.  We put together a bunch of good at-bats at the end.  After you come back and tie the game in the ninth, the only left to do is win it.  Nice win.  It will be a happy flight to Pittsburgh after the way the first eight went.” [/box_dark]

          Scott Rolen on the Reds’ comeback win yesterday against the Cubs

[box_dark] “I’ve been able to string together some good hits.  I feel like I’m just trying to go up there and compete to the best of my ability.  For all of us right now, I feel like we’ve been getting going on offense, all of us.” [/box_dark]

          Pedro Alvarez on his recent hot streak at the plate

The Pirates begin a nine-game home stand with the first of three games tonight against the Reds, which will be followed by sets against the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros.  Check back here for recaps and reactions to every Pirates’ game from us, the Fans From The Stands!

And…

As Always…

Let’s Go Bucs!