July 12, 2017

(42–47, 7 games back in NL Central, 9 games back in Wild Card): The Pirates brief window of contention appears to have slammed shut. They were a team headed in the wrong direction this year, which is why they get a passing grade despite a 42–47 record. We’re also giving them some credit for remaining near .500 after the suspension of Starling Marte, even though he brought his 80-game ban upon himself. Had he been on the field at his typical production level, the Pirates could be a .500 team. Andrew McCutchen’s resurgence is joyous to watch, and Jameson Taillon’s development despite testicular cancer is one of the best stories in baseball, but everything else in Pittsburgh is miserable. Gregory Polanco isn’t making the leap. Gerrit Cole is suffering through the worst season of his career. Tyler Glasnow is back in the minors. The only thing keeping the Pirates above a D was their modest expectations. —Michael Beller

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