The Pirates may be 29-27 on the road this season, but they are just 4-8 as the visitors since the All-Star break including a three game sweep to the fourth place Colorado Rockies.
That needs to change.
Pittsburgh has 45 games remaining to their magical regular season that has seen them hold a first place standing in the NL Central Division. Of those games, there are 20 at PNC Park and 25 on the road. Their biggest test will come Tuesday night at Busch Stadium where the St. Louis Cardinals sit three games back heading into a three game set.
While the five game series two weeks ago against St. Louis was dubbed the biggest of PNC Park’s history, this series may be even bigger. If the Pirates can take at least two out of three, they can create more space between themselves and the Redbirds.
But the journey doesn’t stop there. The Pirates also have to play the Brewers on the road, as well as the Cincinnati Reds; both tough places to play regardless of the standings. Furthermore, they have a seven game road trip against the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants. Despite both of those teams struggling, nothing can be taken for granted as the Pirates went 1-5 last season on the West Coast.
This season has produced plenty of ups and downs for the Pirates on the road. While the Pirates were able to take 3 of 4 on the road against the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies, they have also been swept by the Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves while also losing to the 2 of 3 to the Miami Marlins and Cincinnati Reds.
If the Pirates want to win the NL Central, they need to take more games on the road. With six road games remaining against the St. Louis Cardinals and three against the Cincinnati Reds, the time is now to make a move. The wins will come at PNC Park, but winning on the road defines an NL Central champion. And with the very real possibility of playing the Atlanta Braves in a seven games series, of which four games will be played on the road, the Pirates will need to get comfortable with playing away from home.