Pittsburgh Pirates Must be ‘Road Warriors’ to contend in NL Central


One thing I always say when I look at a young team such as the Pittsburgh Pirates is that they have to learn how to win together.

Winning isn’t simple, it’s a process and over the course of the past couple of seasons, you slowly see the Bucs starting to figure that aspect of the game out.

One thing that really sticks out is their performance in one-run games where the Pirates have a 17-10 record, with those 17 wins being more than any other team in baseball. They are also 3-0 in extra-inning games, which means through the past two years, the Bucs have been learning how to win baseball games. Just look back until 2009 when the Bucs went 12-22 in similar games, followed by records of 20-24 in 2010 and 21-22 last season.

Pitching has a lot to do with it, but so does the maturation process of this team.

One impressive thing about the Pirates recent win streak that has them with a share of first place before Tuesday night, is that four of the six wins have come on the road.

With five straight games away from PNC Park after Tuesday’s loss against the Baltimore Orioles, the Pirates must show the ability to win on the road consistently if they truly wish to ever call themselves contenders.

That’s another thing they’ve been learning to do, with a 13-17 mark on the road this season.

While that’s not altogether impressive, it is when you look at how the Bucs have performed as a road team as of late. Let’s take a look at the past four years.

2008: 28-53

2009: 22-58

2010: 17-64

2011: 36-45

The Bucs have been very good at home; winning 19-of-30 games, but winning on the road could be the key for this team at the end of the day.

Just like everything else, that’s something they must learn to do. So far they’ve been very good students, but ultimately, Clint Hurdle’s team may have to become ‘Road Warriors’ for the Bucs to have a shot at being legitimate contenders in the National League Central.

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