MLB Pittsburgh Pirates' Recent Hot Streak Leading to Winning Record

Tom AuSenior Analyst IIJune 11, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 10:  A.J. Burnett #34 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the Kansas City Royals during interleague play on June 10, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Pirates have won 12 of their last 15 games. That can be considered a "streak" of sorts, albeit a broken one. But it's the reason why they are five games above .500.

They started in a decent place at 20-24 with a losing record but not far from .500. This was after they had lost two games in a row to the New York Mets, a team that has given them trouble in the past.

But then they swept the cellar-dwelling Chicago Cubs, won two out of three games TWICE (in back-to-back weeks) against the division-leading Cincinnati Reds while winning two out three against the Milwaukee Brewers (another Pirate bugaboo) and sweeping the lowly Kansas City Royals.

This year has been marked by a notable absence of long losing streaks. The worst stretch was one of five losses out of six on the West Coast. The Pirates have been swept only once by the torrid Los Angeles Dodgers before losing two out of three to the San Francisco Giants.

In previous years, the sequence had gone too much the other way. The Pirates would play .500-ish ball for a reasonable stretch and then have a losing streak over a low-teens number of games. There wouldn't be any corresponding winning streaks to make up for it, so a record that had started out as a similar number of losses and wins would go decisively into the loss column.

All this has happened in 2012 with Pittsburgh scoring the fewest runs in the majors. They've also given up relatively few runs. More to the point, the excess of runs allowed over runs scored has been "kitchen sinked" in a handful of losses, like AJ Burnett's 12-3 "dillly" against the St. Louis Cardinals and Charlie Morton's recent 8-1 outing against the Cincinnati Reds.

Without these two games, the Bucs' tally of runs scored and runs allowed would be just about even. But they tend to win close (one and two run) games while their losses carry wider margins.

No team will win all of their games. Staying above .500 (and currently being tied for first in the National League Central) is a result of winning "more than their share." This, the Pirates have done so far in 2012.