The Pittsburgh Pirates where 62-46 on August 8th, 2012. 16 games over .500, but then it evaporated quick fast and in a hurry. There are plenty reason you can pick out to why the Pirates faltered so bad. You can say Andrew McCutchen couldn't carry the team anymore, certainly. You can say lack of depth was the reason, indubitably. But now the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates are 18 games above .500 for the first time since 1992 and have 8.5 game cushion for the wild card spot. Most bucco fans like myself are slightly skeptical and we have the right to be after the last 2 season of late season collapses. Will the Pirates fold again this season? The answer is no and this is why:
1. Improvement in key positions: Russell Martin is a great improvement from Rod Barajas, offensively and defensively. Pedro Alvarez is playing much better, all of the offense isn't coming from Andrew McCutchen. You never know who will deliver each night, last night it was Starling Marte. 2. Pitching: The pitching has been somewhat phenomenal. The Pirates are 2nd in the NL in ERA. The bullpen is lights out with the Mark&Cheese. The pitching is surprisingly deep, Jeff Locke has been shockingly amazing, I couldn't have been more wrong about Francisco Liriano, and Gerrit Cole. 3. 3rd time is a charm. I honestly can't see the Pirates doing this 3 years in a row. I'm not guaranteeing they will go to the playoffs but I'm talking a winning record. They Pirates have learned from last year and I'm assuming they know what it takes. This is a different team with much of the same faces. So far this season the hitting hasn't been all that great, it can only get better. I'm looking for the Pirates to come out swinging after the All-Star break.