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The Pittsburgh Pirates had themselves a fantastic weekend. They won two out of the three games against the St. Louis Cardinals and did it in dramatic fashion.
The Pirates opened the series with a walk-off victory thanks to rookie sensation, Josh Bell. Bell hit his 17th home run of the season, a three-run shot to secure a 5-2 win. Josh Bell is quickly entering the elite company in Pirates’ rookie history.
In a season of ups and downs, he has been worth the price of admission. In addition to Bell’s offense prowess, his defense has been a genuine surprise. Early in the year, Bell was constantly removed from games for defense but that is a thing of the past. The 17 home runs aren’t a huge surprise but his three defensive runs saved are fairly stunning as his defense was thought to be the weak spot of his game. Bell may never win a Gold Glove award but he is on his way to becoming a passable defensive player.
The Pirates secured the series victory with another walk-off win as Adam Frazier delivered to cap off a ninth inning comeback. The Pirates entered the ninth, trailing 3-2 but a Jordy Mercer double scored Josh Harrison to tie the game with one out. Adam Frazier then came up with a chance to play the role of hero and he hit the first walk-off of his young career.
The Pirates have won three straight series and seven of their last nine games and are playing their best baseball of the season. Maybe the team isn’t quite dead yet.
Buyers or Sellers?
The trade deadline is still a few weeks away but it is certainly looming large for the Pirates. Will the team be buyers or sellers? There is zero way to answer that right now but it will be a bit clearer following the upcoming Brewers series. Clint Hurdle tends to say, “the game will reveal it.” That is especially true of how the Pirates will approach the deadline. If the team continues to play well and finds themselves near .500 and within striking distance of first place, you may see the team add a piece or two. If the team reverts back to poor play, it may be in the team’s best interest to sell as many pieces as they can.
Nobody wants to see their team lose and sell players but if selling some veteran pieces leads the Pirates back to contending in the near future, it may be the best decision for all involved. The Pirates don’t need a full rebuild as they are in a better position than when they sold in 2008-2010. I know it’s easy to look at the team’s current standing and feel frustrated but objectively, they have a much deeper farm system now. Any rebuild should likely be a small one and not a full tear down.
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