The Pittsburgh Pirates own the best record in the National League and lead the NL Central with a 65-44 record.
The Pirates have not made the playoffs since 1992 and have not won the World Series since 1979.
The Pirates led the majors with a 3.10 ERA and holding the opposition to a .228 batting average. They are tied for first with 14 shutouts.
Simply put, can the Pirates win it all this season?
Absolutely. They have the starting pitching, bullpen, and offense to do it. My biggest concern is the lack of playoff experience on the team. They crumbled down the stretch last season and that has to be in the back of players' minds now.
I think they really missed out by not adding another bat to their lineup at the Trade Deadline. They have one of the better rotations in the MLB and one of the best bullpens. However, The lack on offense up and down their order can hurt them in the playoffs. Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez are good, but they can't make up for the lack of depth in their lineup. They just took 4 out of 5 against the Cardinals, but I think they just don't have the offense to have consistent enough production to succeed in the playoffs.
I definitely believe that the Pirates have a shot at the World Series. They have a talented squad and a solid rotation with guys like Locke and Gerrit Cole. McCutchen is a leader on the team and a great CF who can hit. @Neal Eisler I understand your concern about the hitters but with a staff like that they don't have to put up many runs to win games.
The San Francisco Giants have a average to below average offense and have rode that to two World Series titles in three seasons. The key for the Pirates will be execution to get the timely hit offensively if they get that they will be right there with anyone. I hope it happens because it will a great story for the country to see if the Pirates get back to the World Series.
I agree with @Neal Eisler they need a RF and/or a 1st baseman. There pitching is good, but their bullpen is overworked and they are real young all over the staff. Gerritt Cole (never thrown more than 132 innings in a year, he is already at 129), Locke (no more than 160 IP in a year, he's at 126), Justin Wilson, Melancon, and Tony Watson have all had monster seasons, but they are all at or near their max innings pitched in a year...and there is still 2 + months left in the season. They missed out on another arm and bat at the trade deadline if they wanted to talk about World Series. Last year they were 62-47 through 109 games...they finished at 79-83. I'd love to see it, but Pirates this year need to make the playoffs, the World Series is 2-3 years away.
They have looked great this year so far, but most of the players on their roster have never experienced the big games. I think making the playoffs would be the first step. Also, as @Ryan Berry points out, their young arms could be pretty burnt out by that time. However, a lot of times it is just who is hot going into the playoffs so I think they would have a chance if they were stilling playing well. I would give them a slim chance of winning it all.
Pirates are doing great this season but they've snuck out quite a few one to two run victories. The Dodgers and Braves are both on fire right now, and I think they will have the momentum going into the playoffs. The Pirates will have to wait their turn.
Well, this isn't the NBA. As much as I'd love to say that the best team usually wins the World Series, I don't believe that's the case. So, of course the Pirates can win the World Series. Any team that makes the playoffs CAN win the World Series. But what's weird, and feels very odd coming out of my mouth, is that the Pirates actually may have a decent shot. A couple years ago this would have sounded ridiculous, but having Burnett, Liriano, Locke, and Cole actually gives them a shot to match up with starting pitching; Melancon and Grilli certainly match up nicely in the bullpen; And the offense is certainly capable of putting together a nice hot streak. What would worry me, if I were a Pirates fan, is that I think the Cardinals are likely to win the division. If that's the case, it all comes down to a single Wild Card game. But, simply put ... yes, they're capable.
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