It’s that time of year once again.
Autumn is upon us, which means the long regular season of baseball will come to a close and let the ensuing madness of playoff baseball in October commence.
Major League Baseball’s playoffs are set to begin this coming Wednesday.
The Pittsburgh Pirates will be facing off against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park in the National League Wild Card game for the third consecutive year.
The Pirates are my pick to win the World Series this season.
The Pirates have had the best record in baseball since May 2.
Pittsburgh has the second best record this season not just in their division, or in the National League.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have the second best record in all of baseball.
This team has been a consistent, gritty, resilient bunch this year.
The Pirates are led by former MVP centerfielder Andrew McCutchen.
McCutchen leads the team in RBI, doubles and runs scored this season, along with ranking second on the team in home runs, batting average and hits.
As the leader of the Pirates, McCutchen is the perfect player because his numbers aren’t always the most flashy, but they are consistently solid across the board year after year, solidifying him as one of the best in baseball today.
Pittsburgh ace Gerrit Cole has led the staff all year with a 2.60 ERA and 18 wins while adding 200 strikeouts.
Behind the Pirates cornerstones of McCutchen and Cole, GM Neal Huntington has assembled a good cast of players.
Huntington acquired catcher Francisco Cervelli in the offseason, and he has made former Pirates backstop Russell Martin an afterthought this season.
Huntington made what most considered minor trades at the deadline, acquiring third baseman Aramis Ramirez from Milwaukee and starting pitcher J.A. Happ from Seattle.
Happ has been outstanding since arriving in Pittsburgh.
In Seattle, Happ had a 4.64 ERA in 20 starts, but since coming over at the deadline, Happ has an ERA of 2.04 in 10 starts.
The acquisition of Ramirez has been vital after the Pirates lost the highly impressive rookie Jung Ho Kang for the season.
Ramirez has batted .250 with the Pirates this season and hit six homers while driving in 33 runs.
These acquisitions Huntington and his staff have helped me feel more confident now about the chances of a deep playoff run this season than the previous two years.
The Pirates face a similar fate as the past two seasons in the sense that they will be relegated to the one game wild card despite having the second best record in the entire league.
The Pirates will face a tough task going up against the Cubs and Jake Arrieta who is poised to be crowned the NL Cy Young winner.
This team will face tough challenges going forward, but they won’t back down or give in; they will outshine the rest of the MLB and be crowned the 2015 World Series Champs.