Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The best story of a baseball season that is already a third of the way over?

Well, as usual, it depends on whom you ask.

Let's not start with the bad (for a change) and let's look at the good and new.

Good and new would be what the Pittsburgh Pirates have been doing.

Be honest, here, when the Bucs started off well you kept waiting for the fade to come.

Well, with nearly 55 games in the book, the Pirates look, and are, legitimate.

For a franchise that has gone 20 years (yes, two decades) without a winning season, magical things are happening in Pittsburgh and they don't involve the Steelers for a change.

If the Pirates (33-20) can scratch out 48 more wins, they'll break their under-.500 streak. And the best thing about it is they have 109 games left to try to do it.

Heck, if they keep playing like they've been playing - can anybody say closer Jason Grilli for the Cy Young Award - they could start talking playoffs. Aw, jeez, they're right in the thick of the NL Central Division race.

I know, I know, we're getting way ahead of ourselves for just the end of May. But if you're a fan of the Bucs, it's nice to dream.

And while we're in the NL Central, a story nearly as intriguing as the Pirates is the St. Louis Cardinals.

Now, all teams, complain about injuries. Most do it while they're sinking to the bottom of the standings (it's the same lament in any sport) and ask what could have been.

Well, if any team has the rights to moan about injuries, it would be the Cards.

Their pitching has been so decimated that they've used eight rookies. Real rookies, as in pitchers that have made their major league debut in the last two months.

Eight. That's insane. The eighth, and most highly regarded, is scheduled to go Thursday against the Kansas City Royals. His name is Michael Wacha, and if you have a fantasy team, you need to grab him.

Chances are he's already been in some fantasy owner's minor league pool, but if not, put in your claim now.

This cat has only thrown 73 innings of minor league ball (52 this year) and the Cardinals, who know a thing or two about pitching, are bringing him up. That's telling.

Oh, amidst all this "rookiness" on the mound, the Cardinals have somehow managed to stay atop the NL Central as they are battling the Cincinnati Reds and Pirates.

Two more good stories in the NL are the Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves. The D-Backs lead in the West and the Braves have kept a nice bulge over the hot-and-cold Washington Nationals.

The best story in the American League, by a whisker over the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians would be the Texas Rangers.

They lose Josh Hamilton to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (a huge bust to date) and what do they do? The Rangers just shrug it off and keep winning.

The Oakland A's are chasing them, and the Angels might figure it out before it's too late, but right now it's good to be a Ranger.

On the flip side of things? Well, we don't want to pin the biggest-chump-of- the-season tag on the Houston Astros because nobody expected much of them.

They could still lose 120 games (ouch) and few would blink an eye. Same goes for the Miami Marlins. Little was expected and little has been done.

The Toronto Blue Jays were the darling of everyone in March, but now it's May. A couple of months make a big difference.

But the biggest chumps? That's easy, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the aforementioned Angels.

Oh, the money both teams spent to field what has turned out to be disasters. The Angels are lucky they have the Seattle Mariners and Astros in their division or things would be even worse for them.

And the Dodgers, who seem ready to can manager Don Mattingly any day, they're looking up - way up - at the Diamondbacks, the hated San Francisco Giants and the Colorado Rockies.

In fact, the Dodgers are battling the San Diego Padres to stay out of last place in the NL West.

That's not the way this was supposed to go.

Ah, but for the winners and the losers, it's only May. Late May, and September is coming fast.

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