As we near the All-Star break of this year’s Major League Baseball season, the Pittsburgh Pirates have the best record in baseball. That is not a typo. The perennial losers appear to be legitimate contenders in the National League this season. After completing a sweep of the lowly Milwaukee Brewers this weekend, it is now looking like the time has come to finally take them seriously.
At 51-30, the Pittsburgh Pirates find themselves on top of the Major Leagues with baseball’s best record. Considering they were projected to be nowhere near the top of their own division at the start of the season, the fact that they are 21 games above .500 at the exact half way point in the baseball season is quite the accomplishment. The Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals were expected to be the two teams vying for the divisional crown in the NL Central division, however currently the Pirates hold a two game lead over the Cardinals.
It took 14 innings for the Pittsburgh Pirates to earn the victory against the Milwaukee Brewers tonight, but a win is a win, and with a score of 2-1, they continue to be red hot.
Needing a questionable decision by Manager Clint Hurdle to have the slow footed Gabby Sanchez steal to get into scoring position in the 14th, Russel Martin was able to knock in the winning run with a single. That run completed the rally, and earned their first sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers since 2009.
“I knew on the stolen base all I had to do was just get a good jump and go to second. Russ did a good job. He hit it up the middle and I was able to truck it around home,” Sanchez said about his team’s extra inning victory.
After sweeping the rival Brewers, the Pirates now not only have the best record in baseball, but they are riding high on an 8 game winning streak as well.
Pitching has carried the Pittsburgh Pirates to the best record in baseball so far. They have the best ERA in baseball, and also lead the majors in batting average against. Not a rotation that likes to walk batters either, the team checks in at fifth in terms of WHIP.
Batting wise this team is nowhere near the best in the major leagues, ranking in the 20s in nearly almost every major batting category. The offense likely will need to pick it up in the second half of the season if the Pirates are to finish the year with baseball’s best record and compete for a World Series title in October.
Considering the Pittsburgh Pirates have not put together a winning season since 1992, the fact that they have the best record in baseball is an astonishing and hard to believe fact. They aren’t playing like a team that doesn’t know how to handle success, and look to continue their hot streak into the second half of the season.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express