Baseball is a game of ups and downs as a result of its 162 game schedule. Every team is going to have stretches where they look like the best team in the league and stretches where they look like the worst team in the league. The key is to remember that neither of these last forever and remain as neutral as possible.

The Pirates are currently in a very good stretch, due to winning seven of their past nine games and playing mostly good baseball during that stretch. The Pirates are back to the .500 mark and they picked a pretty good time to get their act together as this west coast road trip could have buried them, but instead their heads are still firmly above the water. .500 after 82 games isn’t the goal, but given how poorly they looked for the entire month of June, I think most people will take it.

The next test for the Pirates is a four-game showdown with their arch-rival St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals have been a fairly up and down team this season as well, so this is a big test for both teams. I imagine each game will be close as that is par the course for this rivalry, but hopefully, the Pirates can find a way to get the better of their nemesis from the midwest. Game one is today at 2:15pm and features Jon Niese taking on Carlos Martinez.

Series Result: Pirates win 3-0

2016 win/loss record: 41-41

2016 series record: 12-12-2

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Steve Kubitz

Steve Kubitz was born and raised in the Stanton Heights neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA. He is a long time and annoyingly positive baseball fan. He bought into the Pirates' 5-year-plan before it was cool. He is best known for staying calm about losing streaks on twitter and trying his best to make sure other fans don’t overreact to when the Pirates lose a tough ballgame to a division rival. The only thing he isn’t positive about is the wave during close ballgames.