Analysis

Can the Pirates Sustain First Half Success?

Can the Pirates Sustain First Half Success?

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been the story of the first half of the season. Andrew McCutchen is putting up numbers worthy of an MVP, James McDonald is evolving in to a number one starter, and A.J. Burnett has put up an impressive season away from New York. But just like last year, the talk is the same: Can the Pirates sustain the first half success?

In 2011, the Pirates entered the All-Star break at 47-43 -- third place in the National League Central. This season, they've been even better. The club is a season-high 11 games over .500 at 48-37 and sit alone on top of their division.

Will Pittsburgh see another collapse in the second half of the season again this year? Players say it feels different. So does their skipper Clint Hurdle. But this year really is different. The reasons? It's a better club, there's more experience, and they have better depth.

"We’re a better team," Hurdle said. "We’re just built better. We have better rotation depth. We haven’t even tapped into guys ...

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