81 games down, 81 games to go
There is no way around it, the first 81 games of the 2017 Pittsburgh Pirates’ season have been a disappointment. After missing the postseason for the first time since 2012 last season, the Bucs seemed primed to bounce back in 2017. However, that has not happened.
While a big part of that has been due to off the field issues with Starling Marte and Jung Ho Kang and injuries to Francisco Cervelli and David Freese, a big part of it is flat out underperformance. Daniel Hudson, Gerrit Cole, Gregory Polanco, and Tony Watson have all been bad this season which has contributed greatly to the Pirates being 37-44. The disastrous ending to the Tyler Glasnow experiment, and Clint Hurdle having, in my opinion, his worst season as an in-game manager since coming to Pittsburgh have been huge factors as well.
The good news for the Pittsburgh Pirates is that the National League Central is terrible. Due to this, the Bucs currently sit just 6 games out of first place. Their rotation has stabilized, at least somewhat, with Ivan Nova, Jameson Taillon, and Trevor Williams. Furthermore, they will be getting Starling Marte back in two weeks.
The second half of the season will also be vital for Clint Hurdle. The Pirate skipper’s contract expires at the end of next season. If he wants to earn an extension, and possibly avoid being shown the door sooner, the Pirates have to play better baseball in the next 81.
In the second half of the 2017 season the Pittsburgh Pirates will have an opportunity to make a run at the National League Central division. However, they must play better starting with their game this afternoon against the San Francisco Giants. Also, Clint Hurdle must manage his bullpen better moving forward.