Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 8/16/13
Mlb-rays-twins-jul
Francisco Liriano and Russell Martin Many Pittsburgh Pirates fans have been calling for their teams collapse the deeper into the season they go. Pittsburgh was swept in Colorado by the Rockies last weekend and they lost 2-of-3 to the Cardinals. This has Pirates fans in a meltdown. Many over them have taken to social media networks to express their frustration with the team, but numerous fans are certain this is the beginning of the collapse. Anyone who continues to support a team after 20 losing seasons and two late season collapses has a right to display their concern. It takes a lot to stay loyal to one team through so much frustration for so long, but it seems like some of them want the Pirates to lose. They want to be right. Why anyone would be so miserable as to want a team to lose just so they can say “I was right, I never should have believed” and that’s not a good attitude to have towards a team. There is such a thing as realistic expectations. Baseball is a long season. No Pirates fan expected this year’s team to win 120 games. Many called manager Clint Hurdle crazy for predicting 95 wins. It’s not even about being happy about the team at all times, it is about being reasonable. The Pirates are in the thick of a pennant race in the best division in baseball. The last week has been a difficult one for both Pirates fans and players. No one likes losing, but let’s look at the big picture. Pittsburgh is 22 games over .500 on August 16. They have a two game lead over the Cardinals for first place. They have one of the strongest bullpens in baseball. Jason Grilli is feeling good and should return at the end of August or beginning of September.  Mark Melancon has been an excellent closer, but Grilli will only improve the bullpen. Wandy Rodriguez is also on the verge of returning. He will not be back sooner than Grilli, but Rodriguez could be back by mid-September. When Rodriguez returns, it is an upgrade on a strong starting rotation. If Gerrit Cole is moved to the bullpen, he will make an already strong bullpen better. People often wonder if the Pirates rotation can hold up. Francisco Liriano bounced back on Wednesday night after a horrible 12 hit, 10 run outing in Colorado. Liriano shined against the Cardinals as he threw a complete game.  Charlie Morton seems to be improving each and every game. A.J. Burnett has followed a rough outing in Colorado with another rough outing on Thursday. Despite his struggles over the last two weeks, Burnett has been good all year for the Pirates. The Pirates offense is the one questionable part of the team. Neil Walker has been heating up during the month of August. The switch-hitting second baseman raised his average from .244 to .258. They also have an MVP candidate in Andrew McCutchen, a twenty-four year old outfielder who’s eighth in the league among position players in WAR in Starling Marte, and the second best home run hitter in the league in Pedro Alvarez. Utilityman Josh Harrison has came up clutch for the Pirates since his call up from AAA Indianapolis in July. He had a walk-off home run and other key hits for the Pirates. The right field question mark still exists, but Jose Tabata has been hitting the ball well recently. He was 3-for-3 against the Cardinals on Thursday after coming in as a pinch hitter. This is not the same Pirates team from 2011 or 2012. They are above mediocre and the best team Pittsburgh has put on the field since the 1990′s. The Pirates are not just a winning team but a playoff team. For the first time in 20 years, the Pirates are going to finish over .500. They won’t be perfect. Perfect doesn’t exist in baseball. They will lose games, make errors and have bad managerial decisions, but they are a legitimate contender. Maybe the most epic collapse is on the horizon, and if so those Pirates fans called it better than the rest of us. Until then let’s hold off on the collapse take just because of a bad week of baseball. The St. Louis Cardinals have just come off two bad weeks of baseball, and they are still in the thick of things. This is what makes a pennant race run. So sit back and enjoy it.    
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Examining Bo Ryan's legacy at Wisconsin

World Cup semifinals preview: US-Japan, Germany-England

Tim Duncan to help Spurs pitch LaMarcus Aldridge

Report: Knicks gave up on signing Marc Gasol 'long ago'

Kings terminate Mike Richards' contract due to 'breach'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Nets believe they can trade Deron Williams

Mickelson likely committed no crime even if he gambled

Report: Dwyane Wade to decline option, become a free agent

Darren McFadden: I feel like a rookie again

Report: Mavericks a favorite to land DeAndre Jordan

Report: Kevin Love likely to re-sign with Cavaliers

Top seven storylines entering free agency around the NBA

Former FSU mascot killed in argument over gumbo recipe

Royals slipping in ASG voting, lose two more starters

Fred Smoot: I played with gay players, 'everyone knew'

Bobby Portis brings donuts for media at press conference

John Calipari shares his thoughts on Confederate flag

Steve Weatherford, Jason Kelce get into Twitter beef

Larry Nance Jr. apologized to 'Mr. Bryant' for rapist tweet

J.J. Watt 'tackles' stage crasher at Zac Brown Band show

Jimmy Butler reportedly wants to leave Bulls, sign with Lakers

Selecting the 2015 National League All-Stars

Taking a look at the Philadelphia Sixers' latest horde

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Mickelson linked to money laundering?

Reminiscing on 'Love & Basketball' 15 years later

Selecting the 2015 NL All-Stars

The Sixers' latest horde

Projected landing spots for NBA's top free agents

MLB changes format for Home Run Derby

Revis to work out with Patriots DBs

Peterson: I'm still NFL's best RB

Kobe gives great quote on friendship

Winners, losers and steals of the NHL Draft

Carmelo calls Porzingis a 'steal'

WATCH: J.J. Watt scores hockey goal

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.