Friday, September 23, 2016
On paper, the Pirates' season achieved everything it set out to be. We knew, thanks to the departures of AJ Burnett, Pedro Alvarez, J.A. Happ and Neil Walker, that they weren't going to be half the team they were in 2015, and by the end of the season...yeah, they were in third.
But...throughout the season there were moments where the Pirates were making some serious progress with whatever they had lying around, and bringing up the new youth like Jameson Tallion and Chad Kuhl. Plus, with Andrew McCutchen slumping, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco stepped up big time, and performed pretty damned well.
Yes, this team still has a ways to go before they can full-on compete with someone like the Cubs, and they're probably going to make a lot of progress this offseason, but enough was there this season that they weren't absolutely embarrassed. Gerrit Cole, Jeff Locke and Ivan Nova did pretty well in the rotation, and people like Sean Rodriguez, John Jaso and Jung Ho Kang hit pretty well off the bench, and eventually in the lineup.
The Pirates aren't out of it yet, and hopefully they'll be back in a big way next year (so that someone other than St. Louis can take 2nd).
Coming Tonight: After an up-and-down season, the Mariners are going for the Wild Card, with help for their trusty rookie shortstop.