By: Mike Vukovcan

Pittsburgh (KDKA)- Tomorrow night vs. the Houston Astros, the Pirates will have a chance to reach the .500 mark.

Might not seem like a big deal, but, it will be the first time they would hit that mark in May since the 2005 season.

Looking at the stats, I’m wondering how they even have a record of 15-16.

Consider some of these Pirates stats thru May 5th:
Offensive Ranking In The NL:
*Hits: 239 (4th fewest)
*Doubles: 43 (4th fewest)
*HR: 22 (3rd fewest)
*Average: .234 (3rd fewest)
*Total Bases: (3rd fewest)
*Slugging Pct: .344% (2nd worst)
*Strikeouts: (Most)

Individual Stats:
Pedro Alvarez: .212, 1 HR, 7 RBI
Jose Tabata: .242, 3 HR, 6 RBI
Andrew McCutchen: .221, 5 HR, 15 RBI
Lyle Overbay: .226, 1 HR, 11 RBI
Matt Diaz: .232, 0 HR, 5 RBI

The fact that the Pirates have been able to overcome this disappointing offensive start could be viewed as a positive.

Guys like Alvarez, McCutchen, Tabata, Overbay and Diaz are going to hit.

The biggest reason the team has 15 wins is because of the top ranked bullpen in MLB.

Pirates GM Neal Huntington might have some faults and might have made some questionable trades but one thing he’s very good at is put together a bullpen.

Since taking over as Pirates general manager, Huntington has found guys that have come here and been very effective.

2011 Pirates Bullpen:
Joel Hanrahan: 1.69 ERA, 16 IP, 4 BB, 13 K’s
Jose Veras: 4.05 ERA, 13.1 IP, 4 BB, 22 K’s
Chris Resop: 1.65 ERA, 16.1 IP, 7 BB, 18 K’s
Daniel McCutchen: 0.00 ERA, 12 IP, 9 games
Joe Beimel: 3.52 ERA, 7.2 IP, 3 BB, 9 K’s
Daniel Moskos: 1.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2 games

Other Pirate positives:
*Neil Walker: .286, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 20 runs, 7 2B’s
*Walker leads the team in average, RBI’s runs and 2B

*Pirates catching platoon of Chris Snyder and Ryan Doumit: .270, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 9 runs, 5 2B’s

*Kevin Correia has been Huntington’s best pickup in the last couple of years. He’s been the rock of the Pirates rotation. Thru 7 starts, Correia is 5-2 with a 2.91 ERA and is 5-0 on the road.

*Charlie Morton is looking like a pitcher that has top-end ability. Despite walking too many batters, he’s 3-1 with a 3.52 ERA. Morton and Correia have been a good 1-2 punch.