Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 8/27/12

Cardinals (70-57) at Pirates (68-59)

7:05 PM EST–PNC Park, Pittsburgh

Here is the MLB.com Gameday

TV: ROOT Sports

The Pirates and Cards kick off an absolutely enormous series this week at PNC. It goes without saying that this is the biggest series in PNC Park history (as has been the case a number of times this season), but this one is especially significant because the Pirates are battling the team they’re directly chasing for a playoff spot. St. Louis currently holds a two-game edge for the final wild-card berth.

The Bucs haven’t been playing well lately, but they’re still in a good position if they can manage to turn things around. Whether they will or not is anybody’s guess, but these are meaningful games and if the Pirates can find a way to win the series, people will all of a sudden be feeling a lot better about this team.

The Cardinals are 5-1 since the 19-inning game last Sunday. Three of those wins were against the Astros at home, but they also took 2 of 3 from the Reds on the road. The Bucs have been reeling, and the Cards may be licking their chops to distance themselves from the Pirates. From their perspective, a sweep would really distance themselves (5 games) and a series win would get the lead up to 3. The good news is that the Pirates have played the Cardinals fairly evenly this season (6-6) and they’re at home this time. Hopefully a great weeknight crowd shows up for all three games.

Tonight’s starters…

Kyle Lohse (13-2, 2.61) vs. A.J. Burnett (15-4, 3.63)

Lohse is one of the best pitchers in baseball that you don’t hear about that much. He’s been solid for a while now, but this year he’s been superb; his microscopic ERA speaks for itself, he leads the league in win percentage, and he’s been lights-out in August.

While Lohse leads the league in win percentage, Burnett is second in baseball in wins. Still, he hasn’t been very good lately and has allowed 26 hits over his last three starts. The good news is that he’s still racking up strikeouts, so the hits should hopefully stop falling in against him at some point. Burnett was rocked by the Cardinals in that awful 12-run start, but also pitched well against them at home in his first Pirates start.

Pirates vs. Lohse:

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Andrew McCutchen 26 25 8 2 0 1 4 0 2 .320 .308 .520 .828 Garrett Jones 24 23 6 2 0 1 3 1 2 .261 .292 .478 .770 Neil Walker 24 20 8 3 1 0 5 4 7 .400 .500 .650 1.150 Jose Tabata 20 18 9 1 1 1 4 1 2 .500 .526 .833 1.360 Pedro Alvarez 17 16 4 2 0 1 4 1 5 .250 .294 .563 .857 Rod Barajas 13 13 2 0 0 1 3 0 3 .154 .154 .385 .538 Clint Barmes 10 9 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 .111 .200 .222 .422 Wandy Rodriguez 8 7 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 .143 .125 .143 .268 Gaby Sanchez 8 7 1 0 0 1 4 1 2 .143 .250 .571 .821 Michael McKenry 5 5 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 .400 .400 .800 1.200 Erik Bedard 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 Josh Harrison 2 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .500 1.000 1.500 Jeff Karstens 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 Total 161 149 43 14 2 6 29 9 29 .289 .325 .530 .855 Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/27/2012.

Cardinals vs. Burnett:

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Rafael Furcal 43 36 13 0 0 0 2 4 5 .361 .429 .361 .790 Carlos Beltran 29 27 9 0 0 2 10 2 6 .333 .379 .556 .935 Yadier Molina 11 10 2 0 0 0 1 1 2 .200 .273 .200 .473 Matt Holliday 9 7 2 0 0 0 2 2 4 .286 .444 .286 .730 Matt Carpenter 5 5 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 .600 .600 .600 1.200 Daniel Descalso 5 5 2 0 1 0 1 0 2 .400 .400 .800 1.200 David Freese 5 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 Jon Jay 3 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000 Lance Lynn 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 Shane Robinson 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 Jake Westbrook 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 Total 116 103 33 0 1 2 16 9 22 .320 .383 .398 .781 Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/27/2012.
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