Pittsburgh Pirates: 6 Reasons why they Won’t Collapse in 2012


There has been one question surrounding the Pittsburgh Pirates that has been asked for what seems like ever now.

“Is this the year that the Bucs finish over .500?”

Anyone that’s read my work in the past knows how much I hate that question. Finishing above .500 shouldn’t be a goal for this franchise. Winning consistently should be.

But I must admit that 51 games through the regular season, sitting at 26-25, it is exciting thinking about if this is the year that the Bucs break the 19 year curse.

The first four months of last season is still fresh in many people’s minds and whether you believe that Jerry Meals’ blown call in Atlanta was the catalyst that began the downward spiral, the bottom line is that the Pirates ended up 72-90.

With the promising start to the 2012 season, the question now has to be “Can the Bucs sustain things this time?”

With that being said, here are a few reasons why I feel they can.


The Pirates pitching was decent a season ago, but everyone knows how it fell apart in the end.

I’m a believer that throughout the course of 162 games, things have a tendency of evening themselves out.

This time around I feel the staff can keep things going. Having two veterans like A.J. Burnett and Erik Bedard will make a difference throughout the course of the season.  Add to that the fact James McDonald is pitching like an ace and the Bucs have the makings of a solid staff that can sustain things for the course of the season.

Entering play on Tuesday, the Pirates were second in the majors with a 3.24 ERA. Equally impressive is the job the bullpen has done, ranking third in the majors with a 2.66 ERA.

Another bonus is the fact that should any of the starters or relievers struggle, the Bucs are no longer starved for pitching throughout the organization. There are several guys ready and waiting for an opportunity


Remember that tough first month and a half schedule where it seemed like the Bucs drew a team’s ace almost every night?

In fact, the Pirates are ranked second when it comes to toughest schedule to this point, but it is bound to get easier with a ton of division games in the near future.

Even the interleague schedule should be do-able for the Bucs. They’ve already played the Tigers, but the rest of the American League teams they face include: Kansas City, Minnesota, Baltimore and Cleveland.


We all know about the Bucs awful start with the bats, ranked last in baseball in runs (162) and on-base percentage (.275), 29th in average (.229) and 28th in slugging percentage (.355).

But even this team is bound to start hitting and I think we’ve seen that as of late, scoring four or more runs in five of their past seven games (all wins).

Guys are starting to heat up and there’s still time for guys like Pedro Alvarez and Jose Tabata to get going.

Neal Huntington

Huntington proved last year that he’s willing to go out and add to this team for the stretch run when he acquired Derrick Lee and Ryan Ludwick at the deadline.

With the Bucs hopefully likely to stick in the race for a while, I would think he will do the same this year.

Minor League Depth

Unlike years past when the Bucs didn’t have options to replace struggling players. That’s not exactly the case anymore.

I’m sure the Bucs don’t want to go that route, but other options exist now and you never know when you will catch lightning in a bottle.

Who knows by July maybe even Starling Marte could be deemed ready and that would be something to get excited about.


Being in the National League Central alone is a bonus.

The Cubs, Brewers and Astros are all worse teams than the Pirates and they can compete with the Cardinals and Reds.

When you think about it, anyone can win this division.

Why not the Bucs?