DENVER -- The Pirates have quickly turned into the Cinderella story of the 2013 season, on pace not just to play in October for the first time since 1992 but also to finish with one of the top records in the Majors.
So what has served as the glue holding this young team together?
According to starter Charlie Morton, who joined the rotation in mid-June after starting the season in the Minors, it is the sense of a steady equilibrium in the clubhouse. There is no rush to slam the panic button after a loss and no overwhelming sense of excitement after a victory over a division rival.
"I think what the team has done well is they've put things in perspective well," Morton said. "The emphasis has been on the game that night. So that really doesn't leave a whole lot of room for focus on other variables. I think that's extremely beneficial, because it takes a lot of weight off your shoulders to think that, 'I don't have to worry about the game a week down the road; I don't have to worry about a series two weeks away.'"
That subtle confidence courses through the veins of the clubhouse to give Morton, who takes the mound Tuesday for the first of a critical three-game set with division rival St. Louis, a singular focus.
"I can focus on the one thing I have to do tonight, which is throw the first pitch or throw the second pitch after the first pitch," Morton said. "And then that really limits a lot of the difficultly, the perceived difficulty."
Ian McCue is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.