Earlier tonight, the Boston Red Sox became the first 19-game winner in the major leagues, but we got there first among NL clubs. The Reds lost and the Cubs won, so now the Cubs are second in the division at 13-14, five games back. The Red Sox have a similar gap in the AL East right now, but that's the only team doing anything close to what the Crew is doing right now.
I must've really ticked off JJ Hardy, as he came up with yet another big game, and Prince came through with four ribbies as well. The more surprising story is Claudio Vargas's second straight shutout outing. I dug up an interesting stat for him so far this season: he's absolutely unhittable once there are runners on base. I have no idea whether that's something about his mentality or just blind luck, but whatever it is, it has now given him a sub-3.00 ERA, which ought to keep Yovani Gallardo in Nashville a bit longer.
The only slight bit of negativity is that Ned used Wise, Turnbow, and Cordero for the last three innings. By the time Wise came in, the game was 7-0, so the leverage index at that point was just about zero. I understand that Turnbow and Cordero hadn't pitched in a while, but perhaps Ned should learn a lesson from that--they were both rested when he used Spurling last night, too. But hey, after a 10-0 win, it doesn't seem sporting to b*tch and moan about bullpen management.
My impression earlier today was that this was the best chance the Pirates had for a win; tomorrow it's Suppan vs. Duke and Sunday it's Sheets vs. Armas. It's too much to expect five more wins to close out the homestand, but it's also not completely unreasonable. The funny part is that, even if we lost all five, we're still guaranteed to have a piece of first place when we next hit the road.
Finally, with the exception of the third basemen, this team is clicking from #1 to #25 on the roster. It's a beautiful thing to see, and it ought to keep us in happy post-game discussions like these for another six months.