Apr 5, 2010; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit (41) is congratulated by right fielder Garrett Jones (46) and center fielder Andrew McCutcheon (22) after hitting a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA. The Pirates won the game, 11-5. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-US PRESSWIRE

Pirates Not Going Away


About a month ago, Pirates Beat Writer Dejan Kovacevic conjured up a rather unique little piece that gained a lot of national attention. He wrote an open letter to Derrek Lee in which he basically sticks his tongue out at a guy who simply didn’t want to return to Pittsburgh for another season. He released it when the Pirates moved into a tie for first place. On June 11. Perhaps he had that written for a few weeks and was waiting for the first taste of 1st place to deploy it.

We love feel-good stories. In a baseball city as miserable as Pittsburgh, this team is a canteen of cold, refreshing water in a hot desolate desert. My stance on Pittsburgh hasn’t changed since I first made it clear before the season started – these guys can pitch. They’re tied for the 5th best ERA in all of baseball. It’s the offense that draws the criticism. After spending nearly the entire year dead last in runs, they’ve jumped a few spots to 26th – about 30 runs less than your Reds have managed to squeak across.

Still seems pedestrian – only, they scored more runs in the month of June than any other team in baseball.

Which ultimately begs the million dollar question: Buy, or Sell?

I buy. I don’t dump my life savings into the stock and pray for dividends. I buy a few shares and watch closely. Meanwhile, Dejan Kovacevic is apparently ready to bet the farm and let it ride. Hope he doesn’t get Facebooked.

Still, at this point, you have to like their chances. The Pirates are very real. With that kind of rotation, any team that can at least manage to score 3-4 runs a game can contend. The Pirates average just under four runs a game. But there are some weaknesses that jump off the stats page – mainly, their opposition.

The Pirates have absolutely demolished weaker competition. Against teams below .500, they are 25-12. And that’s what good teams should do.

Against teams at or above .500? 18-24.

Before we go making any big assumptions, keep in mind, your 2010 Central Division Champions were 20-33 against teams at or above .500. The Pirates don’t have to beat stellar competition, so long as they continue dominating the weak as they’re doing now.

They do seem to struggle away from home. Unlike the Reds of 2010 who finished 42-39 away from home, the Pirates are currently 19-23.

They only have 39 away games left on the year. And in the second half of the season, the NL Central makes up roughly 66% of their remaining schedule.

The Pirates are currently 17-11 vs. the Central.

Between a fantastic staff and a potential MVP candidate in Andrew McCutchen, this Pirates team is going to stick around. The Reds will have a chance to derail them though – they’ll play the Buccos nine more times before season’s end. The only problem is, the Pirates are 15-9 vs. the Reds going back to 2011.

What do you think?

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