Even those might not be as easy as expected, though. The Astros are 14-17, like the Pirates, but they've actually scored more runs than they've allowed, thanks in part to big performances from Jose Altuve, Jed Lowrie and Wandy Rodriguez. They just lost two out of three against the Marlins, but right before that, they took five of six from the Mets and Cardinals.
The first game of the series, at 7:05 on Friday, features Bud Norris and James McDonald. McDonald is off to a great start, and he has 27 strikeouts in his last three outings. (Incidentally, you can read more here about the trade that brought McDonald to Pittsburgh.)