The sizzling Pittsburgh Pirates crushed the Reds last night 13-0, pulling within 2.5 games behind the Cards, as they were losing once again to the Padres. The Bucs, 20 games under .500 at the All Star break, seemed all but destined for a record 20th straight losing season, climbed to 72-70, continuing their remarkable cinderella second half season.
Manager Clint Hurdle isn't surprised. " We all knew we had the core talent and heart here in Pittsburgh". " I believe the turning point was the first game after the Break, when Rod Barajas lined a single down the rightfield line and then stole second and third. " You could see an immediate change in the dugout, you could see it in their eyes".
With twenty games remaining, the Pirates have a solid chance of not only finishing above .500, but the playoffs are now a real possibility. After a day off today, they roll into Wrigley to face the lowly Cubs. Pirate fever is spreading, in fact all remaining home games are nearly sold out. Clint Barmes, one of the sparkplugs behind the turnaround, perhaps put it best. " It all depends how you look at things". A few months ago people were booing me because my OBP was .250" and we were 20 games under. Now we are right in the thick of it! Go Bucco's!