DENVER -- The Pirates came into Coors Field hot, having trimmed their deficit in the National League Central to three games and reaching .500 for the first time since April. Though they dropped two of three to the Rockies, falling 13-3 Sunday, the Pirates still left Colorado in excellent position
DENVER -- The Pirates came into Coors Field hot, having trimmed their deficit in the National League Central to three games and reaching .500 for the first time since April. Though they dropped two of three to the Rockies, falling 13-3 Sunday, the Pirates still left Colorado in excellent position for the coming weeks.
The Brewers lost to the Phillies on Sunday, meaning the Pirates remain just three games back in the division. The momentum the Pirates built to cut that deficit from eight will be important, third baseman David Freese said, and they will be looking to continue playing at a similar high level.
"When we end up playing those guys it's gonna affect the standings a little more," Freese said. "But wins and losses, that's all that matters, especially this time of year."
Josh Harrison says the Pirates need to focus on themselves as the season progresses.
"Stay the course and continue to do what we've done," Harrison said. "It's gonna take us all, from starting pitching to bullpen, guys coming off the bench. A little bit of everything. That's pretty much all we gotta do, continue what we do."
Immediately following their series with the Rockies, the Pirates will play 19 straight games, and 23 of 25, against teams currently under .500. Series against the Giants, Padres, Reds, Tigers, Blue Jays and Cardinals will take the Pirates through August 20.
If the Pirates can take advantage of that stretch, they should be more than ready to face the MLB-best Dodgers and Cubs in late August and early September.
Over that same period, the first-place Brewers will take on tougher opponents in the Nationals, Cubs, Twins and Rockies. Meanwhile, the Cubs also have to face the Nationals and the D-backs twice.
Though the Pirates lost their first series in their last five, Harrison said he liked how the Pirates didn't give up and "fought to the last out."
"That's all you can ask for regardless of what a team's record is, or whoever it may be," Harrison said. "We gotta continue to play it to the last out."
Of course, the Pirates will actually have to win those games, manager Clint Hurdle said. The Pirates are 22-26 against teams under .500 this season, and have gone 1-9 against the Giants and Reds combined.
"This is the big leagues, nobody goes out to not play well, nobody goes out to get embarrassed," Hurdle said. "We've been good at showering well, moving on down the road. We'll get the Giants, it's a place we've actually played well the last couple years. It'll be good baseball. Short-term memory."
Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver.