The Pittsburgh Pirates are preparing to embark on an important nine-game stretch with a 1 game lead in the National League Central
They say that consistency is what transforms average into excellence. Led by their charismatic manager Derek Shelton, who has instilled a winning mentality, the Pittsburgh Pirates have emerged as a contender in the National League Central.
Their relentless pursuit of excellence is evident in every game they play. Whether it's a stunning defensive play, a clutch hit, or a masterful pitch, the Pirates leave a lasting impression on all who witness their electrifying performances.
The month of June has gone much better than May for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Still, the biggest test of the season is yet to come. From June 13th through June 21st, the Pirates play nine straight divisional games against the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers. It will be the first games that the Bucs play against both teams this season. The first six of those nine will be on the road.
Midway through June, the Pirates sit in first place in an untalented NL Central. While there are still nearly 100 games to go in the season, this nine game divisional stretch will go a long way in solving the Bucs identity. Thus far, their identity has been difficult to figure out.
Take for instance the opening series in June, a sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Pirates followed that up by losing two of three to the worst team in the MLB, the Oakland A's. Although, the A's just swept the Milwaukee Brewers immediately after that series in Pittsburgh. So, the Pirates got the 50 loss A's hot? Baseball can be weird.
As hot and cold as the Pirates have been this season, it is what one would expect from a team attempting to find their bearings. If the Bucs want to be the heavy hitter in the NL Central, they must show it in these 9 games vs the Cubs and Brewers.
If consistency is what the Pirates are aiming for, then they need look no further then their bullpen. All-Star closer David Bednar has once again been lights out so far this season, with 14 saves and a 1.78 ERA. Although, there are several other names that are making noise in the bullpen as well. Newcomer Dauri Moreta has shown his flashiness and skill so far in 2023, with a 1.84 ERA in 29.1 innings pitched. Colin Holderman and Yohan Ramirez have also proven to be clutch, boasting a 3.00 and 1.25 ERA respectively.
Predicted to win 67 games in 2023, the Pirates are already more than halfway there in June with a record of 34-30. If the Bucs can take five or more out of nine in these upcoming divisional games, they could stretch their lead in the NL Central to 3-4 games into July. Taking it day by day is the name of the game now. With steady improvement each month, the Pirates could be on their way to their first ever NL Central Division Championship.