The Pittsburgh Pirates have no excuses for not making the playoffs this year. I am talking playoffs and playing in October: words that have not been said for nineteen years. If the Pirates do not make the playoffs, then the season is a bust. Even if they only make the wild card and play the one game playoff that is new this season (still technically playoffs), then the season is a bust. If the Bucs only finish at .500, than the season is a total bust and an absolute waste everyone's time.
I can safely say the latter will not happen. The Pirates would have to experience a collapse worse than last season. They only need to go 18-34 the rest of the way to have a winning season. Of course, the city of Pittsburgh wants more than that. The pitching is still pitching pretty well and the bats are still surprisingly hitting enough to go at least .500 the rest of the way.
The other reason why the Pirates cannot finish just at .500 is that their schedule the rest of the way is not terribly difficult.The only teams that are .500 that the Bucs play are the Reds twice, Cardinals twice, Braves, and Dodgers. The rest of their schedule is full of teams under .500, with 22 games left versus the Cubs, Astros, and Brewers. As long as the Pirates take care of business against those teams, they will be in great shape.
Now if the Bucs take care of business, they should have no problem on winning the wild card. The division is a different story. I am not giving up on them winning the division over the Reds because the Pirates have six more games between the two teams. But the Reds have an easier schedule than the Bucs and three of those six games will be at Great American Ballpark, which is not an easy place to play. Plus, Joey Votto is returning soon, so the Reds will only be tougher to beat. So realistically the Pirates have the best chance at the wildcard. They are on a crash course to play a one game, winner-take-all matchup against the Braves. The Braves have a similar schedule to everyone else, but really the schedule or records do not matter when it comes between the Bucs and Braves. It would just be one game so all the Pirates would have to do is put out the best team. All they would have to do is throw A.J Burnett and the Bucs have a great chance of winning. The two teams have great bullpens and similar offenses so it all comes down to starting pitching, which the Pirates have the upper hand. So the Bucs should win the game and make the playoffs for the first time in nineteen seasons.
So the Pirates really have no excuses for not making the playoffs. If they don't, then it is truly time to panic because the future is now.

Posted in Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Pirates

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