The Pittsburgh Pirates have been lingering near .500 for the past several days and will have yet another chance to reach that milestone in their series finale against the Houston Astros at 1:35 PM Sunday afternoon at PNC Park.
The Pirates are currently 16-17. While the Bucs have, sensibly, emphasized that reaching .500 is not their goal and that they would like to do much better than that, a .500 record in mid-May would be a welcome sign for a fanbase frustrated by 18 consecutive losing seasons.
The game pits two starting pitchers who have struggled so far this year. The Astros' starter will be J.A. Happ, whose problems have resulted mostly from his five home runs allowed in 34.2 innings so far this season. The Bucs, meanwhile, will send James McDonald, who has had issues with his command and control. McDonald, however, is coming off his best start of the season, a win against the Padres in which he struck out five and allowed two runs over six innings.