The (Friday) Windup, “Hearing Footsteps” Edition

The Pirates go into action tonight trailing the Cardinals by 4 games; they haven’t been as close since April 29, when they were 3 out. … 

The Bucs also bring in an eight-game winning streak, already their third of the season of 5-plus games. In all of 2014, they had only one of those — and not until Sept. 19. … 

While the Nationals will be without three big guns — Bryan Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth — only Neil Walker (still beset by a stomach ailment) is missing from the Bucs’ usual lineup. All the pregame nuggets you need:

Sounded like Chicago was as glad to see me leave, as I was to leave Chicago. As I was checking out of my midtown hotel, this was the tune playing over the hotel’s sound system: “Hit the road Jack, and don’t you come back no more, no more …”

Entering weekend play, the Phillies last got a win from a starting pitcher on May 23 (Cole Hamels, over the Nationals). In that interim, Pirates starters gathered 17 wins. … 

Looking forward to Sunday’s Nationals Presidents Race, you’d think the Father of our Country (George Washington) will be a shoo-in on Father’s Day, no? … 

Cole and the Candy Man: Gerrit Cole has joined John Candelaria (spanning 1977-78) as the only Pirates pitchers under 25 since 1926 to mine 11 wins out of 13 starts. … 

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