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September 4, 2013 - John Mehno
As I type this, the Pirates have 24 games left. They only have to win one to post their first winning season since 1992.
They're very likely to get into the postseason in some form, also for the first time since 1992.
I can honestly say I didn't see this coming -- not this year, at least. When the team broke camp in spring training, it didn't look like the everyday lineup was that good. It really hasn't been, either. But the big difference maker has been the pitching staff, which has been among the best in MLB. Francisco Liriano has rebounded remarkably from injuries and ineffectiveness. Mark Melancon, acquired in a shrewd off-season trade, has been money out of the bullpen. Charlie Morton has come back from major surgery. Even though Wandy Rodriguez, the No. 2 starter, will wind up missing more than half of the season, the Pirates' pitching has been strong.
There's no time to celebrate, because there's still much to do. But Neal Huntington and his staff deserve much credit for their role in the best baseball story of 2013.