The Pittsburgh Pirates are on the verge of a second straight playoff appearance because they are beating teams they should. Since September 5, the Pirates are 14-3 (MLB best) in their last 17 games and 14 of those 17 games have been against below .500 teams, going 12-2 against non-playoff teams and the Pirates remaining six games are against teams below .500.
Since September 5, Pirates rank 1st in ERA (1.75) and opponents are hitting just .198 during that stretch, 1st in MLB
Pirates bullpen has a 1.15 ERA over its last 17 games
Starters have pitched 23 consecutive scoreless innings
Pirates are an MLB best 20-9 over their last 29 games.