The Pittsburgh Pirates needed a win against the Cincinnati Reds Sunday.
The entered the day 5.5 games out of first place and in danger of dropping out of the race for the National League Central Division title.
The Pirates got their win, thanks in large part to pitcher A.J. Burnett.
In perhaps the biggest game of the season so far, Burnett (14-3) responded. He gave up just three hits in the Pirates’ 6-2 win.
More importantly, Burnett improved to 7-2 after a Pirates’ loss.
He’s their stopper. He’s the one that can be counted on.
A few months ago, I never would have imagined I would have written that.
I think a case could be made that he’s their MVP and not Andrew McCutchen.
Up next for the Bucs, an 11-game homestand against the Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Bucs are 33-16 at PNC Park. Maybe it’s time for them to make up some more ground on the Reds.