The 2014 season has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride for the Pittsburgh Pirates. After having high expectations going into the year, they have certainly looked like playoff pretenders at times during the year. However, they are heating up at just the right time, and they could sneak in as a wild-card team in the National League. In fact, they might even be able to contend with the St. Louis Cardinals to win the National League Central.
Everything starts with fantasy baseball standout Andrew McCutchen for the Pittsburgh Pirates. As long as he is performing at a high level, this team has a shot. He is looking like a MVP candidate for the 2nd year in a row, and he has put some nagging injuries behind him to make a strong playoff push in the month of September. That has allowed Pittsburgh to play very well in the last couple of weeks, closing the gap in a hurry.
Milwaukee and Atlanta are the 2 teams that they are going to be fighting against for a wild-card spot, and fortunately Pittsburgh will be able to play both of them in a series. That all begins on September 19, so in a way Pittsburgh controls its own destiny for a spot in the playoffs.
Pitching is still somewhat of a concern for the team in general, but they feel like the hitting is coming along nicely. They were a feel-good story a year ago, and now they are just trying to live up to expectations. No one knows for sure what will happen in the last few weeks of the regular season, but Pittsburgh has a chance to show that last year was not a fluke by any means. If they play well against the 2 teams competing with them right now, this team will be riding a hot streak right into the playoffs as a very dangerous team.
Guest Writer: Mark Jenkins