Pirates Firing On All Cylinders Early In Season

Derek ReedCorrespondent IApril 23, 2009

The Detroit Tigers, Colorado Rockies, Tampa Bay Rays and now the Pittsburgh Pirates?

Surely the worst run team in sports is not in any position to hault a 16-season losing streak any time soon, right? They would have to have a 9-6 record, be a game out of first, and sweep the NL East leading Marlins who have the best record in the majors for anyone to believe the Buccos have a shot.

But wait, they did just do all these things.

Pittsburgh has seen fast beginning in early seasons before; they started 10-5 in 2002 only to loss 84 more games. However, there is something different with the current squad that is giving tortured fans hope.

The surprising start is not their record or who they beat, but how they have been winning. Pitcher Paul Maholm may have had a better game than most would believe, but the bullpen combination of Jesse Chavez, Grabow, and Matt Capps, with his fifth save, blanked the Marlins three times to finish them off.

The unlikely Adam LaRoche made the biggest contribution to the offense going 4 for 5 with three doubles. Not to take anything away from Nyjer Morgan who, during the final game of the series, set up the tie breaking rally in the sixth with an RBI single. Morgan also stole third and was able to score after an errant Paulino throw in the same inning.

The Pirates outscored the Marlins 18-6, who had the number one record in baseball coming into Pittsburgh. The method of developing young talent as opposed to aging stars has proven well so far. The question now is will these youngsters keep it up.

"Everybody is jelling together, and that's definitely something that you want to see" said Nyjer Morgan.

Team chemistry is essential for October baseball and right now the team no one expected is sitting comfortably in the MLB's toughest division.

"It's just plain good baseball," veteran reliever John Grabow said. "We're going out there and doing everything right. That's the part that feels good, that's fun."

How much fun the Pittsburgh Pirates will have remains to be seen, just don't count them out quite yet.