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Pirates beating the teams they should

Entering Tuesday night’s action the Pittsburgh Pirates were in first place in the National League Central division by one game over the St. Louis Cardinals with an overall record of 80-57.

On Tuesday, the Pirates defeated the Milwaukee Brewers to win their 80th game of the, the first time the franchise has won 80 games since 1992.

Pittsburgh has 25 games left on its regular season schedule and a very good opportunity to win the division and worst case earn one of the two wildcard spots.

For most of the first half of the 2013 regular season, the Pirates made their way to the top of the NL Central standings by defeating those teams they were supposed to.

One example of that was Pittsburgh taking 11 of 13 games against the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers. With those wins, early in the season the Pirates jumped from a mediocre start of 18-16 to 29-18.

The Pirates also strung together a nine game winning streak that started with a victory to end a series against the Cincinnati Reds then defeating the Los Angeles Angels, Seattle Mariners and the Brewers.

However, since the team returned from the All-Star break in July, that trend has reversed. Pittsburgh have just stayed above the water against opponents that are mediocre and have beaten the big teams up and down, including the St. Louis Cardinals their NL Central rival and biggest nemesis.

Of course, the bottom line is it does not matter how you win, just win baby, as someone once said. Pittsburgh has an opportunity to finish with the best record in the NL and possibly in all of baseball.

For Pittsburgh to accomplish that feat or to at least win the division or qualify for the postseason they need to start taking care of business again, against the bad teams.

This weekend they take on the Cardinals for the last time this season and if they can beat Milwaukee twice or even three times prior to that, there is a good chance they can keep their one game lead or add to before they meet the Cardinals.

Following the series with St. Louis over the weekend, the Pirates face the Texas Rangers during the week, next week then 10 of their last 16 are versus the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs, with the other six versus NL Central rivals the Cincinnati Reds.

Odds are the Pirates will need at least 95 wins to take the division title, possibly one or two more.

If they can take 7 of 10 versus the Cubs and Padres and split their last 12, they would be at 94 wins. Even if that were not enough to win the division, it certainly gets them into a wildcard playoff game.

September is a great month for baseball leading up to October’s playoffs and the Pirates have a great chance to extend their season well into October.

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