When I got my phone turned on and into service range this afternoon, the very first thing I did was load up MLB At-Bat and check the scores of Friday and Saturday’s Pirates games. As I wrote on Friday afternoon, I thought that the Pirates were playing well enough to sweep the Royals, but I was nervous that in the two days that I was out of town, I’d find out that things had taken a turn for the worse.
Of course, it hadn’t and by the time I made it home on Sunday, the Pirates were well on their way to finishing up a sweep of the Royals to improve their record to 32-27 and tie them with the Reds for first in the NL Central. Since May 26th, the Pirates are 12-3 with five series wins and in that span, they’re getting big contributions from pretty much everyone that steps on the field. On Friday, Neil Walker had three hits and Erik Bedard turned in seven solid innings. On Saturday, James McDonald struggled and the Pirates fell behind, but they scored five runs in the fourth and the bullpen stepped up with five strong innings to seal the win. On Sunday, Andrew McCutchen doubled in a run in the first and homered in the third to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead, while AJ Burnett turned in yet another strong start to hold on.
Really, the best part about watching the Pirates over the last 15 games is that they’ve had a bunch of players outside of McCutchen, McDonald, and Burnett step up and help carry the load from time to time and the results have been excellent. It’s June 11th now, and the Pirates are the hottest team in baseball and they’re tied for first place with the Reds in the NL Central. I said this a lot during the Pirates’ strong run last summer, but I’ll say it again here; I don’t know how long this is going to last, but I’m sure going to enjoy every last second of it.