Aside from the frustration of yesterday's ugly loss (actually, ugly game; had we won, Red Sox fans would have considered it just as ugly), the Pirates still made up ground in the NL Central this weekend. The Brewers are up by four games, but the Pirates are in a bunch with the Cardinals and Reds, all three or four back. The Brewers are about to face the Yankees and the Reds the Rays, while the Cards go to Baltimore. We should at least hold our own this week, and could even gain some ground (optimistic but realistic outcome: we wake up Friday morning with the Cards 1 back, us 2 back, and the Reds 3 back).
But what's more interesting is the Pythagorean records and coolstandings.com's projections. The Bucs' run differential is a bit negative, but coolstandings projects the Bucs to finish the year at .500, with a 16 percent chance of reaching the playoffs. Those aren't great odds, but what shocked me is that the Cardinals are only at 23 percentª, which is even more amazing since coolstandings doesn't "know" about Albert Pujols' injury - it only looks at run differential and upcoming schedule.
Point being, the way things have played to date, the Pirates look pretty likely to land in fourth place at worst, and it wouldn't take much for them to reach third. Even second is possible if Cincinnati continues to underperform their Pythagorean record (which they've done pretty much all season long). And all of that is without fantasizing about what could happen when Pedro Alvarez, Ryan Doumit, and Steve Pearce (and I guess Jose Tabata) return.
ª Get this: The Nats have a better chance of reaching the playoffs than the Cards right now.