The Jolly Roger Has Broken Out

For the first time since 1992, the Pittsburgh Pirates have a winning record heading into the All-Star Break. Ironically, the last time the Pirates compiled a winning season was the same year, 1992. Here we stand in 2011 watching an assembly of young talent get better each week.
Clint Hurdle has done a great job managing a group of what is primarily, youngsters with gold “P’s” on their hats.
Having Joel Hanrahan named to the All-Star team is great, and he has earned the right with his perfect save conversion (26 saves in 26 chances) record in 2011.
Kevin Correia belongs too. The former Padres retread has been exceptional when the baseball world had him marked down and nobody was buying. Correia is at the top of the NL Leaders in wins. He belongs.
However, Andrew McCutchen belongs*. Cutch has been swinging a mean stick (batting .407 in July) since his recent passing over and he homered again on Friday to hammer home his point. An argument can be made that with 57 RBI that Neil Walker could have been playing in the showcase.
* Editor’s Note: McCutchen, of course, was named to the All Star team as an injury replacement.
The unique factor that seems to drive the Pirates is that someone new is stepping up to take a turn being the hero. Mike McKenry and Alex Presley are the two newest Pirates to don the cape and be huge in recent Pirate wins.
The enthusiasm at PNC has been spectacular all season and there are no signs of the rush screeching now. This team is playing well enough to compete for a playoff spot.

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