2012 MLB Predictions: Six Teams That Could Be 2012's Pittsburgh Pirates

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2012 MLB Predictions: Six Teams That Could Be 2012's Pittsburgh Pirates
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Remember when there was hope on the banks of the Allegheny River in 2011?  The Pittsburgh Pirates, after suffering their 18th losing season in a row, hired manager Clint Hurdle before the start of the 2011 season.  

That season began with great promise: On July 4 the Pirates had a record of 44-41 and were only 1.5 games back of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Pirates even went as far as to be buyers at the trade deadline, where they acquired Ryan Ludwick from the San Diego Padres and Derrek Lee from the Baltimore Orioles. 

As the cynical Pirates fans might have predicted, the moves did not pan out and the team dropped to 62-75 by September 1. The Pirates were 18.5 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers and the franchise headed to their 19th losing season in a row.  Without A.J. Burnett in the rotation to start the season because of a facial fracture, it is unlikely that the Pirates will repeat the 2011 magic. 

Every year in Major League Baseball there is a team (or two) that gets their fans excited and then fades in the dog days of summer.  Ordinarily, this occurs with young teams or teams where everyone starts off with a career year but peter out once they start playing teams for the second or third time.  Occasionally, these teams that surprise the baseball world keep it up through vernal equinox and end up making the postseason. 

Here are six teams that could start off well this year but will likely fade after the All-Star break.

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