PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan)- MLB Network Analyst Sean Casey joined “The Cook and Poni Show” on Thursday to talk about the Pirates clinching a second straight playoff appearance and their chances of making a deep run.

“[All] 162 got you here, but It’s a new season now,” Casey said. “Anything can happen.”

Casey said he is so impressed with what the Pirates have been able to overcome this year to get a second straight playoff appearance.

He says he likes their chances moving forward in a potential run through the National League playoffs.

“This team is for real,” Casey said. “They are playing great team baseball.”

Casey says this team still has their sights set on winning the division title, but thinks they match up well against a team like the San Francisco Giants in the Wild Card game.

“They beat them head-to-head, ” Casey said. “I love this lineup and I love the bullpen. They have really gone to another level the past couple of months.”

Casey said you can’t  ignore the Giants’ middle lineup with Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence.

“They stack up well,” Casey said. “They are a good ballclub.”

He thinks that the Dodgers are still the team to beat in the National League because of pitcher Clayton Kershaw and how good pitching usually beats good hitting.

But as he said, it’s a new season and anything can happen.

Casey said the Pirates have everything a winning team needs: a great lineup, good pitching, solid bullpen and leadership.

Casey said he can’t say enough for what Manager Clint Hurdle has done for this team.

“”They love this guy. His positive energy. They have bought in to what he is selling,” Casey said. “And what he is selling is that it’s about our team. It’s about showing up every day and being accountable for who you are as a teammate. And he is doing it everyday with his positive attitude and all of the stuff he brings. I think it meant a lot that Clint Hurdle is in the middle of the celebration (Tuesday night) and he gives a couple of words of wisdom and then they unload the corks of champagne. That shows a lot about how far the Pirates have come and who their leader is and it’s Clint Hurdle.”

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