If the MLB playoffs were held during the first two weeks of July, the Pittsburgh Pirates would be in the midst of a dynasty.
For the third year in a row, the Pittsburgh Pirates have played their best baseball to date right around the time fireworks, hot dogs and summer blackouts reign supreme in our nation. After ending June with a setback in Milwaukee, the Pirates started July with seven games against the top two teams in the NL Central: four against the Cubs, and three more, once again, against the Brewers
Pittsburgh started the home stand with their most impressive win of 2019, maybe longer than that, in an 18-5 drubbing over the Cubs. Adam Frazier and Colin Moran each had five hits, and somehow neither managed to be the story of the night. The night instead belonged to Josh Bell, who hit three home runs (he’d hit two more before the end of the week). From there, the Pirates took two of the next three from Chicago and did the same against Milwaukee, bouncing back after losing the series opener, a 7-6, 10-inning thriller.
By the time the smoke cleared from the first half, Pittsburgh was right there in its division, just 2.5 games back of the somehow-still-in-first-place Cubs. The Pirates will start the second half with three games at Wrigley Field, and should they sweep the Cubbies, they may find themselves atop the Central.
It was a good week for Bucco baseball, and here’s a break down of how the team performed in each of baseball’s critical aspects.