Continuing the UK fan in-season review series, here is Pirates fan Marcus Cleaver (@marcuscleaver) on how his team have fared so far in 2018.
How has the season gone so far?
During the winter Sean Rodriguez attempted to rebuild his swing. The fan-favourite had been involved in a car accident in early 2017 and after returning to Pittsburgh in August had only hit .168/.255/.274 in 95 plate appearances.
It didn’t work.
In 2018 Rodriguez has hit a paltry .164/.278/.315 and looks set to lose his spot on the roster.
During the winter the Pirates attempted to rebuild their ballclub. Losing Gerrit Cole to the Astros and Andrew McCutchen to the Giants were significant blows but this is not a team that tanks and so the likes of Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco and (reluctantly) Josh Harrison returned to the lineup for 2018.
It didn’t work.
Despite a recent winning streak, The Buccos occupy 3rd place in the NL Central and may yet trouble the Reds for the basement position as another season of inconsequential September baseball runs its course. 4/10
Stars and flops
Not everything has been terrible!
Pirates baseball is still worth watching when young pitchers like Trevor Williams and Jameson Taillon take the mound. Felipe Vázquez also continues to be dominant in the closer role on the season.
Behind the plate Pittsburgh have among the best catchers in the major league as Francisco Cervelli and Elías Díaz have been excellent.
Polanco has by no means been a terrible hitter but his weakness on defence and poor running on the bases have proved a disappointment.
How often do you see an opposition player turn up at your home stadium, slap a double down the left field line and receive a standing ovation?
On Friday 11th May Andrew McCutchen made an emotional return to PNC Park. As he took his place in rightfield to kick off the bottom of the first a tribute was played on the big screen showing only a few of the countless highlights from his years wearing black and gold. Number 22 came to represent not only the 2013 NL MVP but also an entire franchise and the renewed faith of a fanbase that had suffered for so long.
I’m not crying; you’re crying.
Revised Win-Loss Prediction: 75-87