It is the most important point in the 2014 MLB season. August and September are the months contenders make a push for the playoffs and the pretenders begin deciding which golf course they’re going to visit first. The Pittsburgh Pirates are 59-53, good enough to put them 2.5 games out of the lead in the NL Central and 1 game out of a wild card position. They are most certainly contenders at this pivotal point in the season, but there is one major problem. Their heart and soul, one of the best players in all of baseball and reigning National League MVP was injured over the weekend against the Diamondbacks. After hearing the news, the only thing I can think about the rest of the season is the Pirates are in big trouble.
Andrew McCutchen has been diagnosed with an “avulsion fracture involving the costochondral cartilage of the left 11th rib.” That is doctor talk and may not mean much to the average person, so I’ll put that into as simple terms as I can for everyone. What the doctor said is the Pirates are in big trouble. After seemingly letting their fans down at the July 31st trade deadline by doing absolutely nothing when all of the rumors out there promised so much, Cutch’s injury is an even bigger punch in the stomach to the Bucco Brigade. It’s hard to believe anyone took the news well from the players, to coaches and fans. In fact, reports are you could collectively hear the air being sucked out of the city as the news broke. He is their Sidney Crosby. He is their Ben Roethlisberger. He is irreplaceable.
Believe it or not, there is good news to be found in all of this. He wasn’t placed on the Disabled List as it was previously reported would happen. This means he could hopefully return in the very near future. Instead of being an oblique strain as was originally reported, it is supposedly a more minor injury. You know that little “avulsion fracture involving the costochondral cartilage of the left 11th rib” thing. The only problem is, no matter how many times I read McCutchen’s diagnosis, I can’t help but read the fine print. The Pirates are in big trouble if he doesn’t come back soon.
Right now Pedro Alvarez in not with the team after being placed on the bereavement list. He hasn’t been the same player as he was last year at the plate or in the field but with Cutch out of the lineup the team needs him more than ever. The bright spot with Pedro being inactive is the fans in the first 30 rows behind first base can attend games without fear now. Marte is back in the lineup manning center field. He’s no Cutch, but who is? Walker also came back for the first game against the Marlins but left with back tightness. Cole is working his way back into the rotation but it may not even matter by that point if he has the likes of Jayson Nix, Michael Martinez and Travis Snider starting behind him. Without Walker, Cutch and Cole the outlook doesn’t appear good.
Maybe I’m being too hard on this club. Maybe they will surprise me, come together as one and make it through this time without their star as we all hope they will. They may even win a wild card spot or even the division. It could happen. Anything is possible in this great world we live in. However, I wouldn’t put my money on it. Not with their heart and soul on the bench rehabbing an injury. If Cutch comes back soon and plays like himself, go ahead and place your bets on the Bucs. If not, you’d be better off putting your money on something else like the Browns winning the Super Bowl or even quitting your job and buying a power ball ticket. Everyone has to have a dream but the Pirates are now living a nightmare. One from which they won’t wake up from until the MVP is back.

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