In our daily Wake-Up Call, we get you ready for the day with a complete look at all things Pittsburgh Pirates.
What a difference a weekend makes.
The Pittsburgh Pirates entered the Friday night riding a four-game losing streak after being swept by the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park and losing to the Boston Red Sox in a makeup game at Fenway.
Added on to their slump, the Bucs were entering a house of horrors of sorts as they were gearing up to face the defending World Series Champion Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
However, instead of the Pirates leaving Wrigley in worse shape, they witnessed a bit of a momentum shift. The house of horrors known as Wrigley Field turned in to a wonderland for the Bucs as they completed a three-game sweep of the Cubs, coming back from some sort of deficit with at least one big inning in each game.
In game one Friday, the Bucs trailed 2-1 after five innings until a three run sixth catapulted them to the series opening win.
In game two, the Pirates trailed 6-3 heading in to the seventh inning before striking for five runs including a three run home run by Andrew McCutchen that gave them an 8-6 lead. In the game two victory, the Bucs struck for four home runs from McCutchen, Francisco Cervelli, Josh Harrison and Starling Marte.
And now we get to yesterday’s 6-1 victory that handed the Pirates their first sweep at Wrigley since September 2014.
In a pitchers’ duel between Jameson Taillon and Jon Lester, the Cubs struck first in the bottom of the seventh, giving Pirates fans the feeling that Taillon – after seven magical innings – was going to be the bad luck loser once again.
However, the Pirates bats came alive against Cubs relievers Koji Uehara and Justin Grimm, leading to an outburst of three runs in the eighth and three runs – thanks to a three-run home run from Adam Frazier – in the ninth to seal the victory.
The Pirates surge this weekend was reminiscent of their stellar series against the St. Louis Cardinals in July 2015. The series, which the Pirates won 3-1, included a pair of walkoff wins and helped the club climb to within 2.5 games of first place in the National League Central prior to the All-Star break.
I know it’s still early in the season and the series win against the Cubs this weekend didn’t mean as much as that series did nearly two years ago, but both series might have something in common in the long run.
This series sweep has to give this team confidence moving forward, especially heading in to a series against a St. Louis team that is 3-8 to start the new season.
The Pirates proved this weekend that they have the talent and the grittiness to be a threat in the NL Central this season.They have the pieces in place to possibly contend with the Cubs and may have the confidence to help push them moving forward.
Baseball Talk Around the Web
- Harry Hoytzclaw and Brandon Ellis of the Breeze touch on MLB implementing rule changes to speed up the game.
- MLB Stars spoke about what Jackie Robinson Day means to them.
- Brewers and Dodgers are still reportedly discussing Ryan Braun trade.
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