A few weeks ago, many in Pittsburgh, with the Pirates only a few games out of first and only a game or two under .500, were busy looking at the doom and gloom of the future. The Pirates have had stellar pitching this season, which kept them in most games and helped them win many of their first 40 games.
Some said that patience was the key and to wait until June 1 to make any moves. Like sending Pedro Alvarez to AAA, and bringing up Starling Marte, and if we were that desperate, promote Tony Sanchez from AA to the big show. Getting rid of Nate McLouth was a good move anyway.
The offense made the fans cringe and gave them a sense with no offense, and being unable to determine the health of the bullpen come mid-August, many saw the Pirates looking at another 90 plus loss season, completing two decades of mediocraty. One in which my younger sisters, ages 19 and 15, have never been alive for a winning Bucco squad.
Many reached their boiling point when Justin Verlander almost no-hit the Pirates back on May 18. But after that disaster, things slowly got better for the Pirates.
One positive is that most of your regular starter are batting over .200. In the last 7 games, 6 players are hitting over .300. Clint Barmes is one that constantly heard the boo birds at PNC Park. Over the past few games, they are slowly fading away. While Alvarez may not be the best clean-up hitter, he's the best the Pirates have currently and even he himself has improved. Barajas is another, coming up in clutch situations. The guys we were calling rejects are starting to come around. The guys we said we couldn't depend on. The Bucs are also 12-7 since Verlander's chance at a no-no.
The Pirates are now 30-27, two games out of first place in the National League Central and are hitting the ball. Pirate fever has made its way slowly back to the North Shore for another summer romance between the people of Pittsburgh and the Battlin' Buccos. In 2012, the division is weaker, and the pitching is deeper for the Pirates. With Karstens and Morton injured, the Pirates would like to have them back. Burnett, despite the rocky game in St. Louis early in the year, has been living up to most of the hype since being dumped by the Yankees for a bargain price. If the Pirates offense can continue to hit, be smart buyers at the deadline, and if the pitching stays consistent, we might be talking a run into September.
As Ernie Pontieri says in the song, "You Gotta Believe"