What’s Left for the Pittsburgh Pirates?


Aug 7, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer (10) reacts after hitting a line drive off the head of Miami Marlins relief pitcher Dan Jennings (not pictured) during the seventh inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball is entering the final quarter of the 2014 season. With around 3,500 games having been played, the standings in the National League Central are as close as any division in baseball. Entering today, The Milwaukee Brewers sit atop the division with a record of (66-53), but are trailed closely by the Pirates (63-55) and Cardinals (62-55). So the question arises, what’s left for the Pirates?

Other than the 40-man roster call-ups or a very small waiver pick-up the Pirates team appears to be set for the season. They will have an outfield platoon of Travis Snider, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polanco for the next couple weeks while Andrew McCutchen recovers on the disabled list from a rib injury, as reported by mlb.com. The Pirates will also have to address the issue at second base. Jayson Nix has been filling in for the injured Neal Walker, but really hasn’t been getting the job done. Nix has boasted a WAR (wins-above-replacement) of -.3. In other words, he has actually been worse than his potential replacement. In my opinion, the simple answer is to reinsert Alvarez into the lineup at third base and slide all-star utility man Josh Harrison to second.

Jul 30, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison (5) and center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) celebrate after Harrison hit a home run. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have the capability to make the playoffs, but it won’t be easy. They must overcome the injuries to McCutchen, Walker, and Gerrit Cole who at least looked good in his last rehab start for the Indianapolis Indians, as reported by indystar.com. The biggest issue however may be their remaining schedule. The Pirates have played their best baseball at home with a record of (38-24), but only have 19 of their 44 games remaining at home. On top of that, they have 14 remaining series, ten of which are against teams with records above .500. That is the most in the division of any team still in contention.

All in all, the Pirates will have their work cut out for them over the next couple weeks, but if they can stay in contention they should like their chances down the stretch with McCutchen, Walker, Cole, and Alvarez all returning for a chance at a postseason run.