Bry McDermott

Bry McDermott is a sports writer for The Indiana Gazette. Email her at bmcdermott@indiana gazette.net

If it wasn’t June and if I didn’t know any better, I would have thought the Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series after

sweeping the Dodgers with an 8-4 win in Los Angeles on Wednesday night.

Typically, Pirates Twitter isn’t a place of many celebrations, but it sure was after Pittsburgh’s first sweep in Los Angeles since 2000.

It’s a feel-good story of the young, underdog Pirates — whose

season-opening payroll was six times less ($55,761,800) than the Dodgers’ league-leading $281 million roster, according to Cot’s baseball contracts — taking down the powerhouse lineup of Los Angeles for the fifth time in six games this season with a rag-tag group of rookies,

Double-A call-ups and a sprinkle of emerging vets.

The Dodgers have the best run differential in the MLB (plus-112), while the Pirates’ minus-77 is the worst. L.A.’s Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman have MVP awards under their belts, while Pittsburgh started four rookies Wednesday night, including Jack Suwinski and Tucupita Marcano, who came up to the majors straight from Double-A Altoona this season.

“Anytime you see our team — admittedly, we’ve got a lot of young players out there right now — compete and play hard and make mistakes … but come back and keep playing hard and execute enough to beat a good team, of course it’s good,” Pirates GM Ben Cherington told the Tribune Review after the West Coast swing, “but you’ve got to celebrate and turn the page really quickly.”

It’s safe to say Pittsburgh isn’t winning a World Series this season, so why turn the page so quickly?

Wednesday night’s high could be a brief 15 minutes of fame — like the

excitement that derived from the NL Wild Card

win against the Reds in 2013 — or it could be motivation for a struggling group of young players to play high-energy baseball and bring fans together, even if they’re still hovering well below .500.

The Pirates went into Friday’s matchup against Arizona at 22-27 and nine games behind the NL

Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers — Pittsburgh is 0-6 against the Brewers and 22-21 against the rest of the league in 2022.

However, the Bucs have won six of their last 10 and four of their last five games.

Suwinski, who spent the majority of April in Altoona, has five home runs, good for third on the roster. Marcano, who’s been called up on multiple

occasions this season, homered in Monday’s and Tuesday’s wins against Los Angeles. David Bednar was named NL closer of the month for his seven saves in May. Pitcher Jose Quintana had the lowest ERA (1.33) in the National League during May after signing a $2 million

contract in the offseason.

After slipping into a

season-starting funk,

outfielder Bryan Reynolds looks to be seeing the light. He hit two homers in the Dodgers sweep, collecting four RBIs with a .497 batting

average in his 15 plate appearances. The same could be said for Ke’Bryan Hayes who batted .293 during the series.

There’s a lot of positives looming around a Pirates squad that is

typically a sinking ship.

Don’t lose that by turning the page too quickly. Don’t forget the energy and

confidence that comes from winning.

Especially now when the Pirates are down seven starters/semi-regulars due to injuries, spanning across the field: shortstop Kevin Newman, first baseman Yoshi Tsutsugo, catcher Roberto Perez, relief

pitcher Heath Hembree, DH Daniel Vogelbach and outfielders Jake Marisnick and Ben Gamel.

The team is battered and has leaps and bounds to go before it’s a true contender night after night.

Pittsburgh is the fourth-worst MLB team in batting with a team average of .224, it has the fifth-worst ERA at 4.47 and the second-worst fielding percentage at .979. The Pirates also are tied with the Texas Rangers for the fifth-most errors with 35.

There’s obviously still a ton of work to be done. That’s par for the course with the Bucs.

A World Series may not be in the immediate future, but there’s no reason to quickly dismiss what

Pittsburgh has done with this sweep — made the Pirates a team to root for.

“When you face teams like that and do really good things, you need to keep going,” Quintana told reporters after Wednesday’s win. “This is really special. To play like we’ve been playing all three nights, we showed something.”

Let these young players sit on this page a little

longer. Maybe they could even rewrite this season’s chapter over the course of the next 100-plus games. Their story is already going better than expected.