Remember not too long ago when every article on the Buccos seemed to refer to the squad as the ‘hapless Pirates’? Well, now that we officially have some haps, Pittsburgh is starting to become much more ‘hap’pening. With tonights 9-1 drubbing over the, dare I say, ‘hapless Minnesota Twins’, the Pirates are back to within two games of the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central. They are also one game behind the Giants and Mets in the race for the two National League Wild Card spots right now as well, with the Braves wedged in between a half game ahead of the ‘Happening Pirates’.
Yep, it’s only the first day of summer, but this team is built to last. Even despite losing last year’s ace, Charlie Morton, to season ending Tommy John surgery, the pitching of this team has been outstanding. Starters are terrific, bullpen has been solid… even AAA Indianapolis has one of the best pitching staffs in the league. Although Brad Lincoln has struggled in his starting role, he was outstanding in the bullpen this year (and probably better suited for that role long term). If needed, this team could easily call up guys from Indy like Rudy Owens (now at 6-2), Justin Wilson (73 K’s in 74 IP), Jeff Locke (72 K’s in 77 IP) and even Rick VandenHurk (5-0, 1.86 ERA) from a team that is 15 games over .500 and in 1st place by 9.5 games.
The Pirates 9 run outburst tonight launched them past the San Diego Padres to no longer be the lowest scoring team in the Majors.
So while the system seems to have pitching depth, the offense is what will make or break this 2012 version of the Bucs. And the offense has been coming around and showing signs of life lately. Casey McGehee is forcing himself into the lineup every night with a 9 game hitting streak now, and hitting .356 in June. Pedro Alvarez is currently on a good streak that hopefully will last for a while. Garrett Jones is hitting very well also. Cutch is Cutch. And the Pirates have been getting contributions from others as well, such as Josh Harrison putting together a nice run of games. Even Clint Barmes is hitting .300 over the last week. And wouldn’t you know it, but the Pirates 9 run outburst tonight launched them past the San Diego Padres to no longer be the lowest scoring team in the Majors. Trailing by 1 headed into the game, they now lead the ‘hapless Padres’ by 8 runs in that category, and trail the Marlins by 15 runs for the next rung up the leaderboard.
The way this team has been playing so far this year, it is looking more an more legitimate that this team is going to hang around a bit longer than it did ‘post Jerry Meals’ in 2011. And maybe after all those years of being ‘hapless’, Pirate fans are now just ‘happy’.
Category: Pirates News