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The Pirates have already won more games in July (10-4) than they did in all of June (9-19).
That team which fell five games under .500 just finished the first half by winning nine of its last 11 games.
Have the Pirates righted the ship? They've now won six in a row and nine of their last 11, putting them back firmly in the NL Wild Card conversation.
Given how they were playing at the time, taking three of four from the Dodgers really came out of the blue -- especially beating Kershaw. It was enough to keep the Pirates in contention, too, at least for now.
They are 1-8 against the Cubs this year, but this team is in a bad way against most teams right now. The Pirates have won just six of their last 24 games. In that stretch, only the Phillies have been worse in all of baseball.
That Tuesday night win felt pretty big. Overall, they seem to be in some pretty deep trouble -- at least as much as a contender could be considered "in trouble" in the middle of June. Key injuries to Gerrit Cole and Francisco Cervelli hurt. Andrew McCutchen is struggling badly. They have lost five of six and here's what the upcoming schedule looks like: Two more at Mets, three at Cubs, four vs. Giants, four vs. Dodgers and two at Mariners. That's right, they don't face a team with a losing record until July 1, and then it's only a three-game hiatus (at A's) before four at Cardinals and three vs. Cubs leading into the All-Star break. After the All-Star break, they have three in D.C. against the Nationals. Huge midseason stretch here.
They had lost seven of nine before a Monday rainout and then took both ends of a doubleheader on Tuesday and all I could think about was Crash Davis: "I can get us a rainout."
The underrated Starling Marte is on pace for more than 50 stolen bases. No Pirates player has topped that mark since 1997 (Tony Womack). Before that it was ... Barry Bonds with 52 in 1990. For those curious, no, Marte can't get to the franchise record. It's 96 (Omar Moreno, 1980).
After being totally dressed down in their first five games against the Cubs, they went out and won their last one. Starting with that game, the Pirates have now won seven of nine. It's like that game got them their mojo back.
They sit at 21-17. Last season at this point they were 18-20. The season before? 16-22. Those previous two were playoff teams.
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2016 Team Leaders
AVGStarling Marte , LF.311
HRAndrew McCutchen , CF24
RBIGregory Polanco , RF86
OBPStarling Marte , LF.362
SLGGregory Polanco , RF.463
RAndrew McCutchen , CF81
SBStarling Marte , LF47
WIvan Nova , SP12
ERAIvan Nova , SP4.17
WHIPIvan Nova , SP1.25
KJuan Nicasio , RP138
SVTony Watson , RP15

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