You have to be starting to get the feeling that the Pittsburgh Pirates are just having one of those special, memorable summers. Something just feels different. They’re gutting out wins – night after night – with a bunch of blue collar players and patchwork pieces.
Tonight on FOX Saturday Night Baseball was no different. The Pirates beat the Mets 4-2 at PNC Park, largely behind a big night from their star Andrew McCutchen. Cutch has had a solid, but short of spectacular first half. He’s hitting .300, but his power numbers are down. If the Pirates get anything close to an MVP-caliber second half from the guy, they’re going to the playoffs.
Here’s his 10th home run of the season which tied the game tonight for the Buccos. It was a shot, displaying that ‘power to all fields’ that scouts said McCutchen would develop:
An inning later, McCutchen would single in the go-ahead run. It would stand up. Jason Grilli locked down his 29th save of the season with a scoreless ninth.
Tonight my wife asked me if I had to bet money on it, who did I see going to the World Series. The simple answer would have been ‘I wouldn’t’ and right now, I definitely have no idea. But as I thought about it, I told her the Detroit Tigers and after a short amount of consideration, why not the damn Pittsburgh Pirates? They’re pretty sound in all facets of the game and I think they’re going to be even better in the second half.
As we approach the All-Star break, count me as one who thinks the Pirates have a legitimate shot at getting to the World Series this year. The Reds are fading, the Nationals are probably done, I don’t buy the Braves, the Dodgers still have a ways to go, and I think the Pirates just might have enough to take down the Cardinals in a long NLCS series. Call me crazy if you want. These guys have something going.