For the longest time, the Bucs have been without a stopper in their rotation. That one guy who could prevent losses from stacking up. The one arm in the rotation that could ensure a competitive game regardless of the ineptness of the offense. A.J. Burnett, minus one horrendous game, has been that guy. If he had not started the year late due to the eye injury, the Pirates might be in first place right now. As it stands, they are at .500 which is nothing to sneeze at.
With the additions of the Hit Collector and Jody Mercer to the lineup, the offense is capable of timely hitting. James McDonald is developing into his own version of a stopper possibly giving the Pirates two in the rotation. This team as is playing it’s best would be hard pressed to beat any of the best teams in a seven game series, but it certainly has a fair chance at making the playoffs. Especially with there being an additional wild card this year.