After the completion of all of Tuesday night's games, the Pirates are currently just four games off the NL Central pace. Here are the standings:
To fans of ... any other team, that might not seem like much, but for a Pirates fan, this late in the season, it's amazing.
The Pirates have two more games left against the falling Astros, too - Houston is 13 games out of first now, with few signs of turning things around. True, they're getting nice performances from Hunter Pence and Brett Wallace on offense, and Bud Norris (who the Pirates faced on Tuesday) and Wandy Rodriguez have been stable presences in the rotation. There's also a bit of help on the way from rotation newcomer Jordan Lyles, who the Pirates will face Thursday. But generally, the Astros' pitching staff has been very weak.
After the Astros series, the Pirates enter interleague play, and that will be a challenge, particularly when they face the Boston Red Sox. For now, though, they're riding high, and they'll get even higher if they can take a winning record into interleague play.