Pittsburgh Pirates Open Critical 10-Game Road Trip In New York


May 25, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) jogs off the field after the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals at PNC Park. The Nationals won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates didn’t exactly save their season by going 4-2 on their just-completed homestand, but they did keep hope alive for a midseason push into contention.

Now at 22-27 on the year, the Bucs still have six teams separating them from the National League’s second wild-card position, just as there were a week ago. However, they are in marginally better shape than when they dropped to a season-low eight games below .500 last Tuesday.

The Pirates are 4-1 since then, including an important series victory over the Nationals, one of the clubs ahead of them in the league standings. Pittsburgh has another opportunity to climb the ladder this week with a three-game series in New York. The Mets also stand at 22-27; that set gets started at 1 p.m. Monday when the freshly-recalled Brandon Cumpton gets the start against rookie Jacob deGrom.

Looking past the Big Apple, the Bucs head west to challenge the Dodgers (27-24) and Padres (23-28) to conclude a 10-game trip. All in all, the next two weeks present a prime chance to jump back into the NL playoff race.

It wasn’t where the Pirates hoped they would be on Memorial Day, but considering all their inconsistencies and struggles, being 4 1/2 games back of a postseason spot is about as good as they can expect.