Pittsburgh Pirates: Realistic Expectations for the Rest of the 2011 Season

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Pittsburgh Pirates: Realistic Expectations for the Rest of the 2011 Season
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Ask Men Magazine recently wrote an article revealing "five things that will surprisingly attract her." The number 1 answer was “scars.” Yes, scars! Personally, I was taken aback with that answer. Then I remembered, it’s July 15th and the Pittsburgh Pirates are 1 game out of first place! There is nothing that will surprise me anymore.

Yes, the same Pirates who many experts predicted to finish second to last, only to surpass the Houston Astros. The same team whose legitimate free agent pickup in the offseason was a pitcher who had a 5.40 while pitching his home games in the Grand Canyon that is PETCO Park. The same team with a bunch of kids, a new manager who was a hitting instructor last season and an owner that many believe does not know the difference between a bullpen or a ball point pen.

Those Buccos are 47-43. The first time they will run out of the dugout to begin play after the All Star break over .500 since 1990.

They have accomplished a lot thus far. The Bucs have put an end to many atrocious streaks and are only 1 of 4 NL teams to be over .500 at the break after finishing the previous season with 100 or more loses since 1933.

Expectations are high for the second half of the season as PNC Park has not been this consistently full since….well…never. Will the success continue and lead the Pirates to October ball for the first time in nearly two decades? I will break down each component of this team and determine if this is real or just smoke and mirrors.

Note: This does not take into consideration possible trades General Manager Neil Huntington might finalize.

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