3B Pedro Alvarez has 21 HR and 58 RBI, but is hitting .229. Garrett Jones (.273, 16, 52) and 2B Neil Walker (.291, 13, 65) are the only other offensive players that are putting up any numbers whatsoever. Assuming Jones is the firstbaseman, the Pirates are getting no production from their corner OFs, SS and C. Considering they have a good chance of making the playoffs, this should be a concern. They have brought up 23 year old OF Starling Marte, who has 4 HR in 57 ABs since joining the team.
One of the most underrated stories has been RHP AJ Burnett. Most of the clamor has been from Yankees fans, who expected Burnett to pitch well after leaving NY. He has done more than pitched well. He should be in the NL Cy Young discussion with his 14-3, 3.19 season. He has been the ace of this staff, who outside of James McDonald (10-5, 3.42) has had nobody stand out.
The Pirates are clearly making a run for it this season. They are trying to avoid their 20th straight losing season dating back to 1993. That streak will likely end. The Pirates have made deadline moves for LHP Wandy Rodriguez, 1B Gaby Sanchez and RHP Chad Qualls in an effort to sure up the team. In spite of their success, I still think any chances they have to 1. make the postseason and 2. advance in the postseason will rely solely on the performance of McCutchen and Burnett. Just like up to this point, where they go, so will the Pirates.