The Most Important Pittsburgh Pirates in the Season’s Second Half

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 29: John Jaso /
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To wrap things up

Somewhat miraculously, the Pittsburgh Pirates are still in the hunt for the National League Central division title at the All-Star Break. Jung Ho Kang has not played this season, Starling Marte has played in 13 games, Gerrit Cole is having the worst season of his career, the bullpen has been a train wreck, and Francisco Cervelli, David Freese, and Jameson Taillon have all had stints on the disabled list.

Additionally, Gregory Polanco has had a very poor season and Tyler Glasnow was an utter failure in the Pirate rotation. Nearly everything that can go wrong has for the 2017 Pittsburgh Baseball Club. Although, some blame does fall on Neal Huntington for not doing more to address the starting rotation in the offseason. That, however, is a discussion for another time.

Despite all of this, the Bucs are 7 games out of first place with a key 4 game series against the first place Milwaukee Brewers looming. If the Pirates can win 3/4 games in that series next week, they will be firmly in the division hunt entering late July.

Next: Pirates, Taillon need to start discussing an extension

No matter what, the next few weeks will be interesting for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Odds are, one of two things will happen. Either they will get Starling Marte back, continue their strong play of late, and remain in the hunt in the National League Central. Or, they will fall out of things and look to sell off pieces such as Andrew McCutchen and Juan Nicasio at the trade deadline at the end of the month.

Hopefully, it will be the former. For it to be the former, the four keys discussed in this article need to step up for the Pittsburgh Pirates.