SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 21: A.J. Burnett #34 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on August 21, 2012 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
The Pirates and Cardinals will do battle on Monday night in a pivotal late-August series at PNC Park.
It might be the biggest series for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the last 20 years. Starting Monday, the Bucs will take on the St. Louis Cardinals, the team they trail by two games for the final wild-card spot, in a three-game set at PNC Park.
The Pirates come in struggling mightily, most recently dropping two-of-three at home against the Milwaukee Brewers. On the other hand, what better way to get on the right track once more?
For St. Louis, its recent surge in the standings has been fueled by hot hitting. The Redbirds have scored 42 runs in their last six games, in which they're 5-1.
A.J. Burnett will toe the rubber for Pittsburgh against Kyle Lohse. Both have been sensational in 2012, with Burnett having 15 wins and a 3.63 ERA. On the opposite site, Lohse has a 13-2 mark and a miniscule 2.61 ERA to boot.
Without question, the eyes of the baseball world will descend upon the Steel City come Monday night. When's the last time that could be said in late August?
TV: FOX PITT
Time: 7:05 p.m. ET