Go Crazy Pittsburgh! Pirates in First Place!
Don’t be alarmed folks, that black logo with a yellow “P” in the middle of it is not some foreign object — it’s just a Pittsburgh Pirates logo. I know we’re not used to seeing their flag fly above everyone else in the NL Central rung, but alas it’s true. Thanks to a win over the Astros Friday, the Pirates were in first place (by mere percentage points above St. Louis) the latest in the season since 1997. Yes, this is the same organization that hasn’t had a winning season since 1992, one we called a “hapless bunch” earlier this year.
So what’s different about this team? How have they been able to win? It’s been all pitching. While their offense has scored the fifth fewest runs in the National League this year, their team ERA is fifth best in the NL. Paul Maholm and Jeff Karstens have both thrown over 100 innings of sub-3.00 ERA ball while relievers Joel Hanrahan and Daniel McCutchen have been equally lights out in over 40 innings of work apiece. They only have one hitter with an OPS over .800 and it’s All-Star Andrew McCutchen, so it’s safe to say the 14-homer outfielder is carrying the offense.
Pittsburgh won’t last on top without getting more hitting, so that’s why we’re memorializing this accomplishment with a post. Savor the taste, Pirates fans — you guys are in first place in mid-July. Don’t expect to be back anytime too soon.