Last year the Pittsburgh Pirates were good enough to hold on to first place through the All-Star break and hung around the top spot of the division until about a month later. Then things fell apart. Last year they didn’t have four All-Star selections either. This year they do. Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, Jeff Locke and Jason Grille will represent the National League’s best team at Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game.
The last time the Pirates had this many selections the year was 1981. That is quite a long time and a lot has changed. I don’t mean a lot has changed since 1981 but rather a lot has changed since last year. McCutchen is still one of the premiere outfielders in the game. That actually has not changed. He deserved to be on the starting roster above Bryce Harper but what can you do? He was selected for a reason.
In all the talk about the battle at third base, no one mentioned one of the better third basemen in the game, Alvarez. He only has 22 homers and 57 RBI. The starter in the All-Star game David Wright has 13 homers and 43 RBI by the way; I’m just saying. Locke has emerged as one of the better pitchers in the game this season and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. He more than deserves a good billing in this game.
Grille has been the anchor of one of the better bullpens in the NL all season long and shown himself to be more than worthy of the pressure cooker that is the closer position. This team is different than last year folks. I wondered early in the season if they had the staying power or the toughness to get through the thick of the pennant race. They have a fight on their hands, believe nothing more than that. The St. Louis Cardinals are not going anywhere. I think this year more than any in a very long time; the Pirates have what it takes to prove they are the best team in the National League, if not all of baseball.