Pittsburgh Pirates Shake Early Struggles, Now Have Historic Milestones in Sight
By Tom Smith
It’s exciting to think what the Major League NL Central standings could look like on Monday. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, here. Let’s take a quick look at where we’ve been first. The Pittsburgh Pirates season didn’t start in a spectacular manner.
A strong effort from Erik Bedard was wasted – as were most of the fans at the sold out PNC Park – as the Bucs fell 1-0 to the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park. But the Pirates grabbed two one-run nail biting victories to take the series.
The team was then swept by the Dodgers and Giants on a horrific West Coast trip. It wasn’t pretty, and the Buccos limped out of April with just ten wins. Zoltan didn’t exist. The WOOOOOOOOS were non existent.
But let’s fast forward to where the team is today on September 6.
The Bucs are 72-64. They have matched the win total from 2011 with some really great headlines, and many players are approaching milestones that we thought were impossible just months ago, when articles compared the Pirates offense with some of the worst in the history of baseball.
The most important headline is also the most improbable: that the Pittsburgh Pirates are fighting for a spot in the post season. An important series this weekend with the Cubs, while the Cardinals square off with the white-hot Brewers, could shake things up in the wild card race in a big way.
Can you imagine if the Pirates were to jump the Card…wait. Stop. Back to the headlines and milestones….
Andrew McCutchen shook off an awful second half in 2011 to where he now leads the National League in hits. The centerfielder is fighting for an MVP award, a batting title, and has put the team on his shoulders with some great overall play that gives Pirates fans reason to impersonate Ric Flair for many years to come.
Pedro Alvarez leads all National League third baseman with 27 bombs. [Check each of them out here] El Toro is behind only Miguel Cabrera, who has 32, for the Major League lead. The big bull is chasing club records, too–in the history of the Pirates only Aramis Ramirez and Frank Thomas have hit more homers in a season than Petey.
Pirates starters have won 54 games this season while losing 51. The Pirates starters haven’t won more than they have lost since 1992 when the starters went 59-47.
Garrett Jones has hit 43 homers at PNC Park. He trails Brian Giles (45), Craig Wilson (47), and Jason Bay, who hit 61. With some luck Jones might jump into third, or even second, on the all-time list before this wild ride of a season wraps up.
The Pirates finally beat up on the Astros, grabbing eleven wins against Houston as they made their final National League season a pathetic one. After the Astros swept the Bucs in late August last year, the Buccos have won 13-of-17 to give Houston a swift kick in the tail out of the NL.
To even be able to imagine that the Pirates baseball club could be in a really good spot come Monday morning is a great feeling. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!