I don’t care what time of the year it is, when your baseball team is owned by Bob Nutting, you need to enjoy these moments. I don’t care if they start 1-0 on opening day (which they didn’t this year), I will always soak it in when the Pirates are on top.
Despite doing little to nothing in the off season, this ball club doesn’t look terrible. The starting rotation has been incredible. Guys like Jameson Taillon and Chris Archer have lived up to the high expectations that were set for them early on while Trevor Williams, Joe Musgrove continue to prove to the baseball world that they’re also above average on the mound. Finally, the new guy, Jordan Lyles has some believing that Uncle Ray might be back on his bullshit when it comes to reviving careers.
There have been two dudes that sucked in the bullpen but overall it isn’t worth complaining about. Most good bullpens struggle to find consistency early on. Plus, if your team’s biggest problem is the 7th inning guy, you’re doing alright.
In the field is where it gets interesting. The infield was obviously an area of the club that had to step up in a big way this year and so far we have seen that from a few guys. Josh Bell has started the year as one of the best offensive first basemen in the game, Adam Frazier is taking advantage of his first shot at everyday playing time, providing quality AB’s at the top of the lineup and Colin Moran has responded well to losing his starting job at third base in spring training by hitting the absolute piss out of the baseball in the past two weeks.
The only problem is, despite those three doing a damn good job, the rest of the infield SUCKS. Especially the short stop position. Unlike pretty much anywhere else on the field, the Pirates have hardly any depth at short stop. Erik Gonzalez has been atrocious both in the field and on the bases. His backup, Kevin Newman is so terrible that he set a record this season against the Cubs for the worst defensive inning a Pirates short stop has had in the last 119 years.
Jung Ho Kang’s defense helps makeup for the rest of the team’s inability to field ground balls but his two year (mandatory) vacation from the game is showing at the plate. Kang is having a harder time hitting breaking balls than he does ordering an uber. I am not sure how long he lasts on this team but my guess is that if the Buccos are still relevant in a few months, they’ll dump him once and for all to pick up a better overall player.
Finally, the outfield has been to me, the most solid thing on the team after the starting rotation. This is pretty wild considering the fact that the Bucs have played pretty much all year without Gregory Polanco, Corey Dickerson and Lonnie
Physical specimen, Melky Cabrera is currently fourth in the NL with a .367 batting average while other dudes like JB Shuck and rookie Jason Martin have also stepped up in a major way to help this team get runs across the plate.
Whenever this team gets Polanco and Dickerson back (fuck Lonnnie, we don’t need him), they should have a pretty legit lineup. One would hope that they will make a few changes to the left side of the infield, like maybe trading for a short stop or calling up Cole Tucker and Ke’Bryan Hayes from triple A, but I really can’t see either of those things happening.
I think this team is pretty much going to stay put as is and you know what, that isn’t so terrible. Like the headline says, they are currently the best team in the NL. Excluding one humiliating loss to the Cubs, they have been in a position to win every single game that have played up to this point in the year. Their record should honestly be a lot better than it is now, which again is bonkers, considering how little the front office did in this past off season to give them a chance.
Moving forward, I really hope this team can hang around. Having a good baseball team is something that can make a summer go from good to great. This town has had a fair share of let downs that came from a pair of organizations who normally don’t disappoint. How great would it be for the Pirates to end up being the most successful team in Pittsburgh this year?
It would for sure be a great pick me up. The expectations for this organization are so low. I know many fans won’t come to the games because they hate the owner but I can promise you if this team is in the hunt by the fourth of July, PNC Park will no longer be a ghost town.
If not, then oh well. Like I said earlier, I will enjoy any ride this group gives me. Regardless if it is for a few weeks or for an entire season. They might not have Cutch or Neil Walker anymore but this squad plays hard and is easy to root for. Now that the Pens are done I really hope the entire city can give them some support.