At least the Pittsburgh Pirates won’t have to face another top team from the NL Central the rest of the season.
With their series with the elite teams in the division behind them, the Pirates open a three-game set with the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park.
After this weekend, Pittsburgh visits Philadelphia for three before wrapping up the regular season at Cincinnati on Oct. 3.
The Pirates saw the last of the NL Central playoff contenders Thursday, when the Chicago Cubs completed a three-game with a 6-3 win. Pittsburgh finished 5-13 against the Cubs and 5-12 against both Houston and the major league-leading St. Louis Cardinals.
“Those teams have three-to-five Hall of Famers,” Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. “We have guys trying to get three to five years in.”
Despite their struggles against the division’s superior opponents, the Pirates believe they have a bright future.
“We have a great young team here. Everyone here is excited about where we are going,” Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson said. “It is almost good as a learning perspective for the offseason to go through this type of stuff with such a team that has such promise for the future. We need to remember and learn that we can play with these guys.”
Craig Wilson hit a two-run homer and Ty Wigginton went 2-for-4 with an RBI as Pittsburgh lost its third straight and eighth in 10 games overall. Wilson was 3-for-23 (.130) without an RBI in his previous seven games, while Wigginton is hitting .409 (9-for-22) with a homer, three doubles and eight RBIs over his last seven games.
The Reds took the final two games of their series on the road against the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves, including a 3-2 win Thursday. Cincinnati prevented the Braves from clinching their 13th straight division title, winning for just the third time in eight games.
The Reds surpassed their win total from all of last season, when they finished 69-93.