COURIER PHOTOGRAPHER THOMAS SABOL captures the Pirates’ Starling Marte blasting a base hit in a Sept. 3 game against the Reds. Marte served an 80-game suspension during the 2017 season.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In what was their final four-game series against the now-NL East division champions, the Pittsburgh Pirates played a respectable .500 against what many baseball experts are calling the next World Series champions.

In winning two of four games against the vaunted Washington Nationals during the long weekend of Thursday, Sept. 28 through Sunday, Oct. 1, the Pirates not only played respectfully against the talented Nationals—they also demonstrated that spring 2018 should probably evoke positive hopeful activities, which could result in a return appearance in the postseason of 2018.

At least, one can only hope that successful sparks from its many young players can result in at least a chance to a one-game playoff, as the team did a few seasons ago. Meanwhile, in a pre-game interview with Bucs manager Clint Hurdle, the skipper manages to keep a level-headed, positive attitude while controlling the team’s helm.

“We’ve got work to do,” said Hurdle, who turned 60 this past July. In this, his seventh season with the Pirates, Hurdle and his teams have certainly experienced the highs and lows of baseball mediocrity.

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