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5 Players Who Must Step Up in August For Pittsburgh Pirates

5 Pirates That Need To Step Up in August

Pirates Celebrate Win
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The Pittsburgh Pirates are in a dog fight in the National League, right in the thick of things in their own division and the Wild Card. The Pirates have been able to overcome some shortcomings to get into the position they are in now. They stood pat at the deadline, saying they had everything they needed already. They have the players in place; it is now time of them to step up. Here are five Pirates that need to step up in August.

5. RP Ernesto Frieri

Ernesto Frieri Pirates
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

5. RP Ernesto Frieri

Ernesto Frieri Pirates
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

In 2013 the bullpen was one of the biggest strengths for the Pirates, but the same cannot be said about 2014. Frieri came over in a midseason trade from the Los Angeles Angels and has continued to pitch poorly to the tune of a 10.13 ERA with the Pirates. The Pirates have gotten great performances from Tony Watson and Mark Melancon, but it will take more than two players to make a successful bullpen. Frieri getting on track would help immensely.

4. 1B Ike Davis

Ike Davis Pirates
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

4. 1B Ike Davis

Ike Davis Pirates
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Since coming over in a trade from the New York Mets, things have stayed pretty much the same for Davis. His power is still nowhere to be found, as he is slugging only .361 on the season between both the Mets and Pirates. Just two seasons ago Davis looked like he would be a premier power-hitting first baseman, and it is currently nowhere to be found. It would do the Pirates well if he found his power stroke, or just started hitting at all.

3. SP Francisco Liriano

Francisco Liriano Pirates
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

3. SP Francisco Liriano

Francisco Liriano Pirates
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Liriano was having a rough season prior to going in the DL mid-June. Since he has returned, he has finally begun to regain his form from 2013 when he had a career-resurgence with the Pirates. It is imperative for the Pirates continued push towards the playoffs that Liriano continues these positive performances. He has four starts in a row giving up two or less runs, which is a streak the Pirates would love to see continued through August.

2. 3B Pedro Alvarez

Pedro Alvarez Pirates
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

2. 3B Pedro Alvarez

Pedro Alvarez Pirates
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Alvarez's poor performance has made it hard to keep him in the lineup. He leads MLB with 24 errors and is no longer providing enough power to warrant a spot in the lineup everyday. He is on a career-high pace for walks on the season, and it seems that his new, more patient approach has sapped some of his power. Alvarez needs to get on track at the plate to help give the Pirates another threat in the lineup.

1. SP Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole Pirates
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

1. SP Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole Pirates
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Cole came into the season as the ace of the Pirates staff, but he has been hampered by injuries. He was scratched from a rehab start Sunday in favor of a bullpen session so that he can work some things out. When he does return from the DL, the Pirates need him to perform like the front-end starter he is capable of being. Cole bouncing back would give the Pirates the push they need to make the postseason.

Kenneth Teape is a New York Giants writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @teapester725, “Like” on Facebook, or join his Google network