The Pirates went 17-10 in June to bring their overall record to 42-35; a season best seven games over .500. They had two 4-game and two 3-game winning streaks along with one 3-game and one 4-game losing streak.
Wow, did the bats break out in a big way this month. The offense improved to 5.41 runs per game, way up from 2.64 r/g in April and 3.18 r/g in May. The pitching stayed close to the same as it was in May, increasing to 4.07 r/g from 3.93 rpg. Both numbers are well above the 3.00 r/g they allowed in April. Pedro Alvarez in June was the Pedro Alvarez Pirate fans have been looking for all along, hitting .262/.354/.571. Also waking up after a pitiful May was Casey McGehee. Casey took over most of the playing time at first base and hit .291/.360/.532. The best news is that neither player put up those stats by relying on a bunch of lucky hits. Pedro’s BABIP in June was .294 and McGehee’s was .305.
One of the best things that happened was the reduced the number of close games. April saw the Bucs win 8 games decided by three runs or less and only 2 by four or more. May had 14 close wins and 1 big win. In June the increased offense pushed those numbers to 8 close wins and 9 big wins. Good teams blow out their opponents more often than bad teams do.
The Pirates won seven series, lost one series and split one. I am counting the still to be completed St. Louis series in these numbers since the Pirates have already won the set regardless of what happens in today’s game.
NL East: 2-2, 23 RS, 24 RA (5.75 RS/G, 6.00 RA/G)
NL Central: 6-2, 53 RS, 33 RA (6.63 RS/G, 4.13 RA/G)
ALE/ALC: 9-6, 70 RS, 53 RA (4.67 RS/G, 3.53 RA/G)
Home: 7-2, 39 RS, 17 RA (4.33 RS/G, 1.89 RA/G)
Away: 10-8, 107 RS, 93 RA (5.94 RS/G, 5.17 RA/G)
1 Run games: 4-4
2 Run games: 2-2
3 Run games: 2-0
4 Run games: 4-1
5 Run games: 1-1
6 Run games: 1-2
7 Run games: 1-0
8 Run games: 1-0
9 Run games: 1-0
Summary: What a month. The Pirates played their best stretch of sustained good baseball in the last 20 years. The fruit of that good play has the Pirates holding the top Wild Card spot. Who would have thought that at the end of June the Bucs would be in position to host a playoff game? July really offers the team a chance to cement their place in the division. Opponents this month have a combined .433 winning percentage. 17 of 26 games come against NL Central opponents; 16 of those versus Houston, Milwaukee and Chicago. It’s a good time to be a Pirates fan.