The Pittsburgh Pirates are nearly synonymous with losing. The team's last winning season came eight years before the new millennium.
Last season, the Bucs showed a lot of promise, led the NL Central at the end of July and had an above .500 record at the All-Star break for the first time in nearly two decades.
The Pirates improved their pitching staff by bringing in former New York Yankees starter A.J. Burnett this offseason and finally committed some money, going against the usual practice of letting players go and bringing in more prospects, by signing All-Star outfielder Andrew McCutchen to a long-term deal.
It seems as though the Pirates are finally ready to start winning.
The Buccos have played better than their 16-18 record may indicate and have the potential to play a lot better.
If Pittsburgh can develop more consistency on offense and on the mound, they have a legitimate chance, for the first time in a long time, to challenge for the NL Central title.