Great Scot – Episode 24 – How the Pirates Win NL Central
How the Pittsburgh Pirates Win NL Central
The Pittsburgh Pirates certainly have not put themselves in the best position to win the NL Central but with a little bit of luck, some strong play and potentially a winning streak will put the team atop the NL Central before September is over. It won’t be easy as the team will need the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals to lose X amount of games under what the Pirates can win from the remaining 30 games or so.
Let’s take a look at the upcoming series’ for all three teams and by no means are these real predictions but just some areas where I can see the Pirates winning enough and the Brewers and Cardinals losing enough to give the division to the Bucs. Currently, the Pirates are 2.5 games under the Cardinals and 4 games behind the Brewers. It’s going to be close but let’s see what we can do.
(As of 8/28, 11am EST)
Aug 22, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (50) points to his infielders during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
First up, the Cardinals(71-61)
4 Game Home Series vs the Chicago Cubs – Split 2
3 Game Home Series vs the Pittsburgh Pirates – Lose 2
4 Game Road Series at the Milwaukee Brewers – Split 2
4 Game Road Series at the Cincinnati Reds – Lose 3
3 Game Home Series vs the Colorado Rockies – Lose 1
3 Game Home Series vs the Brewers – Lose 1
3 Game Home Series vs the Reds – Lose 2
3 Game Road Series at the Cubs – Lose 1
3 Game Road Series at the Arizona Diamondbacks – Lose 1
Final Record: 86-76
Apr 6, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy (20) congratulates left fielder Ryan Braun (8) after scoring a run during the eighth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
3 Game Road Series at the San Francisco Giants – Lose 2
3 Game Road Series at the Chicago Cubs – Lose 1
4 Game Home Series vs the St. Louis Cardinals – Split 2
4 Game Home Series vs the Miami Marlins – Split 2
3 Game Home Series vs the Cincinnati Reds – Lose 2
3 Game Road Series at the Cardinals – Lose 2
3 Game Road Series at the Pittsburgh Pirates – Lose 2
3 Game Road Series at the Reds – Lose 1
3 Game Home Series vs the Cubs – Lose 1
Final Record: 87-75
Aug 25, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Pedro Alvarez (24) reacts after hitting a solo home run against the St. Louis Cardinals during the second inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
3 Game Home Series vs the Cincinnati Reds – Win 2
3 Game Road Series at the St. Louis Cardinals – Win 2
4 Game Road Series at the Philadelphia Phillies – Win 3
3 Game Home Series vs the Chicago Cubs – Win 3
3 Game Home Series vs the Boston Red Sox – Win 2
3 Game Home Series vs the Milwaukee Brewers – Win 2
4 Game Road Series at the Atlanta Braves – Win 3
3 Game Road Series at the Reds – Win 2
Final Record: 88-74
In this scenario, the Cardinals would go 15-15 the rest of the way, while the Brewers would need to go 14-15 the rest of the way and the Pirates to go 19-10 the rest of the way which all 3 of these are possible if the Pirates were to go on a bit of a hot streak, sweep a series, win 3 of 4 in Atlanta and win the remainder of their series’ throughout September. You can obviously add a sweep of another team like the Brewers, Red Sox or Reds if the Pirates were to lose a series 1-2 or even split with Atlanta on the road. This breaks down to the Pirates finishing 1st in the division, the Brewers 2nd and the Cardinals 3rd.
Honestly, this scenario is only made possible by the Pirates winning their last 2 series vs the Brewers and Cardinals and need to ride the momentum into this weekend to face Cincinnati. The Buccos defeated Adam Wainwright, now they need to figure out a way to beat Johnny Cueto this season. It will be an interesting ride to the end of the season and I can see the team making the final wild card spot so long as they keep winning series. If they were to go on one sad losing streak of 4-5 games, it could be the final nail in the coffin for the team as well.
Let’s trust the team can pull it together, get some timely hits, excellent starting pitching, quality defense and a better performing bullpen for the stretch run. If not, at least continue to make it interesting for the final duration of season left. It’s fun to still be playing meaningful baseball throughout September and no one can really understand how this 2014 Pirates team is doing it but they have a shot at not only the playoffs but the division.