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Pirates Quietly Hanging Around and Getting Better

Despite having a ton of things go against them, we’re a day away from the start of July and the Pirates are still in contention for the NL Central Division.

Yes, Clint Hurdle’s team is still five games under .500 (37-42) but because of how mediocre the NL Central is this year, the Pirates are just four games behind the first-place Milwaukee Brewers. Despite their current position in the standings, the Cubs are the team to beat in the division and the Pirates are only 3 games behind them.

NL CENTRAL STANDINGS:
MILWAUKEE  42-39  —-
CHICAGO         40-39    1.0
ST. LOUIS         37-41     3.5
PIRATES           37-42     4.0
CINCINNATI   33-45      7.5

With the rotation starting to get in a groove, with Andrew McCutchen looking like an All-Star, with the younger players like Josh Bell, Elias Diaz and Jose Osuana continuing to perform well and with Starling Marte set to return in 18 days, the Pirates are very much in a playoff race for the last 3 months of the season.

Here are some other statistics to make you optimistic and also to show you how the Pirates have been able to keep their heads above the water.

*McCutchen’s Past 32 games: .393 average, 8 HR, 27 RBI, his turnaround has been incredible.

*Since returning from cancer surgery, Taillon has a 2.42 ERA in his four starts.

*Since May 26, McCutchen is batting .500 (13-for-26) w/RISP

*Pirates rookies home runs:
Jason Bay 26 (team record)
Ralph Kiner 23
Barry Bonds 16
Josh Bell  15 (thru 79 games)
Andrew McCutchen 12

*Since May 9, John Jaso is hitting .322 with five homers and 17 RBI’s. The questioning of Hurdle and why he’s playing Jaso so much has pretty much ended (for now).

*After a terrible four straight starts, Cole has a 1.35 ERA in his last three starts. Cole will start tonight’s 3-game series opener vs. the San Francisco Giants. Getting a long stretch of games like this from Cole coupled with continued solid outings from Taillon and Nova will give the Pirates a chance to make this an interesting summer.

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