JOSHUA DOBBS

The Pittsburgh Pirates seem to be making a move toward claiming the National League Central Division crown.

That statement is theoretical.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are experiencing untimely injuries to key performers at the most inopportune time of the 2017 season.

That statement is factual, and as former Pirates broadcaster Lanny Frattare might say, “There (is) noooo doubt about it.” So far in 2017, at one time or another, the Pirates have lost the following players for multi-game stretches because of injury; outfielder Gregory Polanco, catcher Francisco Cervelli, OF/IF Adam Frazier, pitcher Jameson Taillon, pitcher Antonio Bastardo, third baseman David Freese, center fielder Andrew McCutchen, catcher Chris Stewart. Many of the aforementioned have been forced to appear on the seven or 10-day disabled list, or even longer. These are just some the physical injuries that have occurred in 2017.

Now let’s address a few of the possible mental issues affecting the team, shall we? As if it weren’t enough, the Pirates have been psychologically smacked around by one their star players (Starling Marte), being suspended the first half of the 2017 season and also relieved of close to half of his season’s pay for allegedly ingesting illegal performance-enhancing drugs. What was the reason for Marte using a PED that has allegedly been monitored since the Cold War? Who knows? Marte’s suspension also happened after the Pirates had taken a huge risk and juggled the lineup of their starting outfield by moving former NL MVP McCutchen from his ordained position of center field to the real estate of right field that had previously been sanctified and glorified by the late Roberto Clemente, all without consulting or receiving the consent of McCutchen himself. When McCutchen was originally moved from center field to right field during spring training this year, he had this to say: “That was one of the first times that there was something that I wanted to go against,” he said. “It wasn’t something I was ready for or I wanted to do. But as I keep saying that, I’m talking about myself. So, I just had to not be selfish and just accept that’s what I had to do and move over to right.”

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