The Pirates are white-knuckling their final grasps for a .500 season. It seemed like it was only last month (Editor's note: it WAS last month) where everyone was proclaiming that 2012 was the year that Pittsburgh finally pulled everything together, exorcised their demons, and accomplished a winning season. Unfortunately, the inevitable slide then occurred and snowballed into simply placing the Pirates out of postseason contention into guaranteeing another non-winning season.
Today, the Pirates hope to continue their quest for the ultimate Pyrrhic victory of winning just as many games as they have lost. In doing so, they will call upon Wandy Rodriguez to take the mound against Cincinnati. The Wandyman has been 'meh' against Cincinnati in his five previous starts (no-SSS!) this season, going 1-2 with an ERA of 5.28. By now, the Reds may be as used to him as the Harlem Globetrotters are to the Washington Generals. Of course, with one more loss, the Pirates will look even more like the aforementioned group from the District of Columbia.
The Pirates aren't the only folks going for a somewhat-trivial statistical accolade today. With a win today, Johnny Cueto will become the first Red since 1988's Danny Jackson to win 20 games. Frankly, this series has been a fantastic excuse to match 1988 accomplishments. As long as someone keeps Chris Speier away from the ponies or the nearby West Virginia casinos (we're not that enamored with the idea of Interim Manager Mark Berry), we frankly wouldn't mind seeing more of these feats being matched.
The spiteful baseball gods have dictated that this will be the last Sunday day game of the season. However, the performance of the Reds has awarded them a postseason opportunity to play under the lights and the scrutiny of the national media, Homer Bailey notwithstanding. With that being said, enjoy this one last afternoon in the timeless vacuum that is a baseball game. Go switch the channel on that team with the perennially lowered expectation. Go watch Johnny Cueto win number 20. Go watch the Pirates lose number 82. Go gander at the prospective lineups after the jump. Oh, and go Reds! They're my favorite team!