Pittsburgh Pirates Trying to Prove They’re For Real

By Kenny Bristow
The Star-Ledger

Last season the Pittsburgh Pirates got off to a scorching start and were leading the way in the NL Central at the halfway point. Then, the frustrations from a lack of pitching depth and cold bats pulled the Bucs back to Earth.

This season has shown just the opposite. The Pirates got off to a slow start. So slow, that people were starting to already doubt their hot start the previous year was just an illusion.

So much for the Pirates’ return to glory, and too bad for the fine baseball fans from the Steel City who have suffered through the longest stretch of futility in recent MLB history.

But not so fast; the pro baseball season is a marathon. To count any team out with talent on their roster before the All-Star break is often a mistake. The teams that have gotten hot at the right time in the right division to make it to the postseason are too numerous to count.

If you put that into consideration, the Pirates are dangerous in a tough NL Central. After defeating the New York Mets and their hot starter Matt Harvey on Sunday, the Bucs’ third win in the series, they look more dangerous than ever.

When most of the attention from Pittsburgh is directed towards superstar Andrew McCutchen, the presence of veteran pitcher AJ Burnett is the beacon directing the Jolly Roger. He has led by example over two young upstarts, Jeff Locke and Wandy Rodriguez. Add closer Jason Grilli, who recorded his 15th save on Sunday, in the mix and the pitching is certainly there for Pittsburgh.

The Bucs are still in third place behind the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds, who are solid in pitching and have big time bats. It will take more than just being good to get past those teams.

Kenny Bristow is a Los Angeles Dodgers writer for RantSports.com.
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