Saturday windup: This IS the big one.
Clint Hurdle is always saying that “today’s game is the biggest of the season.” It’s his way of maintaining that one-game-at-a-time focus.
But today’s game IS the Pirates’ biggest of the season.
They’re reeling, in danger of matching their longest losing streak of the season at the worst possible time. A fifth straight loss would wipe out the last of their five-game lead over the Cubs — all in a matter of five days.
Francisco Liriano needs to pitch up to his ace status. He’s facing Clayton Kershaw in Dodger Stadium. He could be facing Cy Young on the moon. Doesn’t matter. He has to give the Bucs a chance to win this game, for two huge reasons.
One, to stop the skid and all the bad vibes in the wake of Jung Ho Kang’s devastating injury.
Two, to give the Pirates a good chance of taking this series. Liriano takes care of this one, Gerrit Cole figures to take care of Sunday’s game against Mike Bolsinger.
The Cubs called out the Pirates earlier this week, and are in the process of doing the same to the Cardinals this weekend. Time to put your foot down, as Hurdle likes to say.
By the way, for those disappointed with how infrequently I’ve had posts here, given the other time-consuming demands of canvassing the Bucs … from here on out, I’m gonna throw up something at least once a day, usually more. There’s only 15 games left. Time to step up. Something else Hurdle is always saying.