Pirates In First Place After All Star Break

As it stands this very minute, the Pittsburgh Pirates are in a tie for first place in the National League Central. Yes, those Pittsburgh Pirates that haven't had a winning season over .500 since 1992. They're in first place. This Buccos team has seemingly come out of nowhere this year to surprise just about everyone. So, how have they managed to not only stay in the hunt, but lead the pack? Simple, they have scored more runs than they've allowed. In the lineup, the Pirates are getting big numbers from Andrew McCutchen (.290, 14 HR, 56, RBI, 15 SB) who is making a case for best NL center fielder according to my colleague OCP. Other big time contributors include Neil Walker, Jose Tabata, and Garrett Jones.

It's the pitching, however, that has propelled the Bucs to the top of the NL Central heap. The only Pirate starter without a winning record is Paul Maholm, and he's sporting a 2.96 ERA. This suggests he hasn't received run support. Kevin Correia, on the other hand (11-7, 4.01 ERA) has had the benefit of timely hitting. Charlie Morton blasted out of the gates with a 5-2 record before cooling down last month. Veteran Jeff Karstens has also looked very sharp compiling an 8-4 record with a 2.34 ERA, good enough to put him in the top five in the NL. Their team ERA is 5th in the NL and leads the Central by a half run per game. Adding to the great starting rotation, the Pirates also finally boast a lights out closer in Joel Hanrahan. Hanrahan has 26 saves and a 1.34 ERA coming out of the break.

It remains to be seen if the Pirates can keep up their play long enough to be a playoff factor this year. The pitching will have to continue to be strong as the Brewers and Cardinals will make a push. It will be interesting to see if the Pirates make any moves by the trade deadline to make a run at the post season. For the past 18 years, they've typically been sellers, maybe this year, they go for it. They will also have to find a few hitters to step up along with Walker and McCutchen. Guys like Pedro Alvarez and Lyle Overbay will have to provide some sparks for this team to continue to succeed. Alvarez has been hurt for part of the season, but even when in the lineup, he has struggled mightily. It's amazing to see the Pirates do so well so late in the season. Anyone born after 1993 has known nothing but misery concerning the Pirates. Perhaps this is the beginning of a welcomed turn around for a great baseball city.


  1. I'm not a Pirates, but I am a baseball fan. I love that they're in first place, and even if they don't win the division, just being in the race in September would be great. I just hope the starting pitching will hold up. So far this season, they improved more than any other team. I guess I'll be an honorary fan this season


  2. I think they are legit... Starting pitching has been good and their bullpen is solid. They've got some pop and some really good young talent, led by McCutchen. The more I watch him play, the more I like. He does it all- decent power, awesome speed, solid average, great in the field and he plays the game right way. The NL Central is wide open this year.

    But you're right Deron- the fact they're in it is most important.

  3. The feel good story of the year so far.


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