I make a point here at Battling Bucs of not discussing one particular series too much. In my opinion during the course of 162 games one 3 game set really doesn’t mean a whole lot in the grand scheme. So Bucco fans bear with me now while I ask you to forget about scoreboard watching, forget about batting title races, forget about roster moves, forget about everything else, including the 19 year losing streak and let’s just focus on the series ahead of us. Over the last five seasons there has been one team that has stood out above the rest and helped shaped the culture surrounding the Pittsburgh Pirates and that team is the Milwaukee Brewers. Make no mistake they have owned our Pirates and have dominated them on every level. The Brewers have inflicted more misery to Pirate fans than any other team in baseball over the last 5 seasons.
There is talk that the culure surrounding this Pirate team has changed that it is different than past seasons which is why a collapse this year is unlikely. That may be true then again it may not be but I can tell you this you’re not going to find the answer by watching an uplifting 19 inning game win against the Cardinals or by watching a crushing sweep at the hands of the San Diego Padres. No where you are going to find the answer and see if this culture has truly changed is when this team has to stare in the face of adversity and face its demons. The Pirates are on a slide there is not doubt about it but there is still time, 38 games to be exact, to turn this thing around. Right now is the moment of adversity. Over these last 38 games no team is more prevelant on the schedule than these Brewers; making thier first trip into Pittsburgh this season the Pirates still have 9 games to play against these Brewers. This is our demon. The time to see if the culture surrounding this team has truly changed is now in this series against one of the final two demons this team has yet to fully exercise (we all know the other). The Brewers are the measuring stick the tipping point as to whether this season will be a success or yet another failure. It all begins here with these three games.
If things go well many will point to the next series as the biggest ever at PNC Park but allow me to disagree this series is bigger, it means more to the Pirates. It is about more than just playoffs it is about this team’s character. Six of the next nine games are against the Milwaukee Brewers. By the end of this stretch and quite possibly by the end of this series we should have an idea of what the final stretch will be worth. The time for the Pirates to step up and make a statement is now.