By Justin Broyles @Tweets_ByJ on September 2, 2014
The Pittsburgh Pirates are in the midst of a great playoff battle including four other teams. All of these teams are battling for only three playoff spots, so the month of September is sure to be an exciting one for all baseball fans. Thinking about the Pirates in particular, here are five predictions for their month of September.
The Pirates added John Holdzkom to their squad a few months ago and he has looked good in Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis. The team must especially like what he has done because they added him to the 40-man roster so he could be eligible for the playoffs. While the Pirates are yet to call him up to the big leagues, the rookie will make a big impact out of the bullpen with his electric, high velocity fastball.
The Pirates demoted Gregory Polanco last week because he was in a bit of a slump. He was 1-30 during his dry patch and there were no signs that he was going to improve. But last time Polanco went into a slump, he eventually broke out of it to hit at a high clip again. It is likely that Polanco will look at his demotion as a wake up call and he will come back to the majors to catch fire at the top of the Pirates' order.
Charlie Morton has been on the shelf for the Pirates for a few weeks with a hip injury that has now been diagnosed as a sports hernia. This is an injury that Morton can pitch through -- AJ Burnett is doing this for the Philadelphia Phillies -- but it will degrade his performance. One idea the Pirates have flirted with is putting him in the bullpen. I think this is an option the Pirates go with and Morton helps solidify a shaky bullpen.
The Pirates traded for Ike Davis in April because he would be a power threat at their first base position. That has not happened, but Davis has provided value by having quality at-bats and being able to get on base. He has flashed his power recently, however, hitting some crucial bombs the past few weeks. Davis performs better in the second-half and I would expect him to continue to hit for power, possibly hitting double digit homers this month.
The Pirates have a weak schedule in the middle of September. They travel to Philadelphia to face the Phillies for four games, and then return home to face the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox, all teams under .500. The Pirates tend to beat up on bad teams and I think they will win all of those games before facing the Brewers. If the the Pirates go on this winning streak, it is likely that they will be in first place in the NL Central.
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