The Pittsburgh Pirates (71-65) failed to win five in a row for the first time this season as the Cincinnati Reds (66-71) avoided the sweep, winning 3-2 on Sunday afternoon. Chris Heisey hit two home runs, including a tie breaking shot in the ninth.
Hughes has very solid numbers this season, 1.15 WHIP, 2.06 ERA, but pitching at this time of the year in the middle of a pennant race is different from a pressure standpoint. So far he has not been able to answer the bell.
Monday night with the Pirates leading the Cardinals 1-0, St. Louis scored all three runs off Hughes with two outs in the seventh and today vs the Reds, Hughes allowed the go-ahead run with Heisey’s solo home run.
Last season Hughes was not put into these type of situations as his only action in September came when the Pirates were losing by multiple runs.
17 OF PIRATES FINAL 26 GAMES ON THE ROAD
A 7-3 stretch over their last 10 games has the Pirates just 2 games out of a wildcard spot and 2.5 games out of the division lead. Pittsburgh is an NL best 44-28 at home but if they’re to return to the post-season for the second straight year, they will have to win on the road where they are 27-37 on the season.
As the Pirates begin a 10 game road trip starting tomorrow night in St. Louis, 17 of their final 26 games are on the road, including their last seven games.
A key stretch in the schedule starts on September 5th where 16 of the Pirates last 23 games are against teams below .500. From September 5 through September 14, the Pirates play the Cubs six times of a 10 game stretch.
Overall, 16 of the Pirates final 26 games are against teams with below .500 records.
For the Brewers and Cardinals, 16 of their final 26 games are also against teams with below .500 records.
The three game series with the Cardinals has the Pirates starting rotation setting up with Gerrit Cole vs Lance Lynn, Jeff Locke vs Adam Wainwright and Edison Volquez vs Shelby Miller