Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 9/10/13
Pirates (82-61) at Rangers (81-62) 8:05 PM–Rangers Ballpark, Arlington MLB.com Gameday TV: ROOT The Streak is now in the rear view mirror. Tonight the Pittsburgh Pirates will take the field as a winning baseball club focused on getting to the playoffs and winning their division. With 19 games left, things are certainly looking up a bit more than they were on Sunday night. The Pirates took a tough game one in Texas and gained ground on the Reds (who lost to the Cubs) and the Cards (who did not play). St Louis still leads by one game and has the Brewers tonight, but the Pirates now lead the Reds by a game. Their magic number for a wild card berth is a mere 12 with 19 games left for the Bucs and Nats (who are 8 games back), so that is still safe. It’s still going to be tough to finish ahead of Cincy and St Louis, but if the Pirates can get on a bit of a roll after last night’s big win, it can certainly be done. Pregame news… Charlie Morton seems to be fine and is on track to start this weekend. Excellent news. Starling Marte has started to swing a bat. More good news. He pinch-ran last night with a giant mitten-looking-protective-thing on his hand. The 2014 schedule is out. (Remember when this would be big news in past Septembers?) The Bucs open up at home against the Cubs on Monday, March 31. They will battle the entire AL East plus the Tigers in interleague play (Boston comes to PNC while the Bucs go to New York). Tonight’s starters… Francisco Liriano (15-7, 2.98) vs. Martin Perez (9-3, 3.41) Frankie has alternated incredible and awful starts over the past few weeks – and in this case, that’s good news because he’s due for an incredible one. Some more consistency would be nice, though, and the Pirates aren’t coming off a loss (and that’s when he has been at his best). Still, it’s hard not to feel comfortable going in to a game with him on the mound. Perez is a solid rookie left hander, which has forced the Bucs to post a strange but probably good lineup for this game. Justin Morneau, Neil Walker, and Garrett Jones are on the bench (as they should be vs LHP’s) while Josh Harrison (who crushes lefties) leads off, Jordy Mercer (who also crushes lefties) hits second, and Gaby Sanchez (who also crushes lefties, yet didn’t PH for Morneau vs a LOOGY last night) plays first. Tony Sanchez (who is not John Buck) is behind the plate and Russell Martin is the DH.
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