In two years, you might only see one of those dudes up there still roaming the outfield at PNC Park, but that guy might end up your NL MVP the same year the Pirates overtake five teams to win their division. Andrew McCutchen hit a solo home run in yesterday's 3-2 Pirates win over the Phillies that helped Pittsburgh win an inspirational series against the World F'in Champions. McCutchen is a surefire Rookie of the Year candidate: .361 OBP, .486 SLG, and 15 SB with some sensational glove love in center.
Garrett Jones hit his 15th homer of the season in the eighth inning, a two-run shot that put the Pirates ahead. Actually, all 15 of the shots have come in the past two months. That makes one tater tot for every 14 plate appearances for Jones, a McGwire-esque rate for a guy that might not even be around in two years. See, the Pirates have a plan and it's young guys like McCutchen and Indianapolis' Jose Tabata that will be doing the heavy lifting in the next couple years. Seventeen consecutive losing seasons is a tough row to hoe, but if smart management could help the Rays, it can help the Pirates.
Coming up next for the Pirates: the Brewers, who just got swept by the Reds. Pittsburgh has no chance of finishing the year above .500, but third place in the division is actually within reach with a hot September thanks to Milwaukee woes. But in any case, the Pirates beat the Phillies! Maybe in two years, we'll see a shift of power in Pennsylvania hardball shift westward. For now, the Pirates can celebrate a simple series win and keep re-building.