Don't look now, but the Pirates have 2 teams between them and the worst record in baseball. KC can't even smell the Buccos who have 6 more wins than the Royals (13), and now the Fish (17 wins) are chasing dem Bucs (19 wins.)
How is this recent 5 or 6 winning streak happening? Power. For the first time in a long time, the Buccos are playing long-ball. Jason Bay had 6 homer in 6 games (12 for the month of May) and now Jose Castillo has 5 dingers in 6 games.
Jack Wilson, Jason Bay, Sean Casey, Freddy Sanchez, Ronny Paulino and Jose Castillo are all hitting over .300. Craig Wilson is at .276. The only spot that is not holding it's own is the CF spot, with Duffy, McLouth and Bautista being less than stellar.
The problem is, once they get done with the multitude of lefthanders that were thrown at them lately, Craig Wilson will most likely find his way back to the bench in place of Jer0-4my Burnitz and his .234 clip. And as for the injured Joe Randa, the best thing Dave Littlefield could is take a hammer to that bruised foot every 14 days, and allow Sanchez to continue to play third and hit.
On the pitching front, Ollie Perez has gone three straight allowing 2 runs or less (1 win, 2 ND.) Ian Snell has allowed 3 or less earned runs in 6 of his last 8 starts. Paul Maholm has allowed 3 or less in 5 of his last 6. Victor Santos has 12IP and 3 ER in his last 2 starts. Zach Duke, well...he's still getting hit.
The pitching is improving and the hitting is becoming more consistent. Watch out Cubbies, the Buccos are coming for 5th place!