Studes on the Bucs
Here's a nice article by Studes on why the Pirates and Brewers have been playing so well recently.
Studes notes, as many have, that the Pirates' run scoring has far better recently than it was at the beginning of the season. Here are the Pirates' hitting stats for May. Daryle Ward, Jose Castillo, Ty Wigginton and Rob Mackowiak are all playing way over their heads, and Jason Bay arguably is too. Jack Wilson and Matt Lawton, who probably shouldn't be benched for any extended period of time, have been cold. Other than that, it looks like Lloyd McClendon has done a fairly good job figuring out who the hot players are - or maybe those players are hot because they're getting playing time, or maybe McClendon is just lucky. (Actually, it's probably some combination of the three.) In any case, all the players above except Wigginton have played a lot, while cold players like Tike Redman, David Ross and Freddy Sanchez have had limited opportunities to hurt the Pirates.
The Pirates have allowed few runs in May, also, but the team's 3.73 ERA this month simply isn't sustainable, with nearly as many walks during that period as strikeouts. (And no, I don't care how good Brian O'Neill thinks the defense has been, but check out his fine article anyway.) In the meantime, though, Mark Redman, Kip Wells and Dave Williams have posted good ERAs this month, and opposing hitters have failed to score much at all against the Bucs' bullpen.