Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 9/21/12

Pirates (74-75) at Astros (48-102)

8:05 PM EST–Minute Maid Park, Houston

Here is the MLB.com Gameday

TV: ROOT Sports

The Pirates, now looking up at the .500 mark, will have a chance to rattle off some wins on this road trip if they can figure out how to play somewhat-decent baseball. They’ve got seven games against the Astros (102 losses) and Mets (dreadful in the 2nd half). While they’d probably need to go 7-0 to even get back in the playoff conversation, a winning mark would make the final homestand interesting in terms of going for 82 wins.

News:

  • Melky Cabrera was ruled ineligible to win the batting title today, after he requested to not receive the one extra plate appearance that he would need to make his .346 batting average qualify among the league leaders. Even though it’s an unprecedented move by MLB to change a rule midseason, I agree with it (they aren’t taking away his hits – just saying that suspended players can’t have PA’s tacked on to qualify for a batting title). Andrew McCutchen now leads the batting race with a .339 average, but Buster Posey is just behind him at .335. That’s something to watch down the stretch.
  • If the Bucs don’t manage to get to .500, the offseason could be ugly. CBS’ Jon Heyman writes that Neal Huntington’s job could be in jepoardy, and this e-mail from assistant GM Kyle Stark that was leaked is…something.
  • Neil Walker was scratched from the lineup after originally being slated to start.

Tonight’s starters…

Jeff Locke (0-1, 5.49) vs. Edgar Gonzalez (2-1, 4.40)

Locke is still looking for his first win, and his results so far as a starter have been underwhelming. I do like his 14/2 K/BB ratio, but he’s given up far too many hits and hasn’t really been facing quality offenses, either.

Gonzalez is the dude the Astros grabbed from the Mexican League about a month ago and still beat the Pirates (and Locke) at PNC in early September. He has won one and lost one since then.

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