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Pittsburgh Pirates' second-half preview: Polanco could spark playoff berth

Verducci's Quick Pitch: Pittsburgh Pirates

Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci previews the second half of the MLB season for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 49-46

Standing: 4th in NL Central

Team Leaders: 

Batting Average: Andrew McCutchen, .324

Home Runs: Andrew McCutchen, 17

ERA: Charlie Morton, 3.32

The Pirates got off to a slow start this season, going 10-16 through the end of April. But thanks in part to a hot June (17-10), Pittsburgh is still in contention in the NL Central.

Reigning MVP Andrew McCutchen continues to be one of the best players in the game, with the third-highest batting average in the National League. Rookie Gregory Polanco has played well, too, with a strong .352 on base percentage.

The Pirates are eight games behind the Brewers in the division, but a run to the playoffs is well within reach, as they sit only three games out of a Wild Card spot.

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