As I wrote on Friday afternoon, I spent my whole weekend back in Western Pennsylvania with a full slate of events. As a result, I only watched the Pirates and Brewers peripherally. On Friday, I sat in Midway with about an hour's layover before my flight to Pittsburgh that coincided with the start of the Pirates' game. The Brewers batted nearly the whole time I was in the airport. On Saturday, I spent approximately 15 minutes in a bar in Station Square, waiting for a friend's bachelor party to start; in that time I watched Pedro Alvarez bat with the bases loaded, foul off pitch after pitch, then strike out looking in the sixth inning of a 1-1 game. On Sunday, my cousin got married back. Since the wedding wasn't until 4 PM, a bunch of my family gathered at my parent's house and we watched the start of the Pirates' game. That meant we watched James McDonald home run derby before leaving for the wedding.
As happens when I come home for things like bachelor parties and weddings, I spent a bunch of time talking about the Pirates. With the team falling apart as usual in Milwaukee, people kept asking if I thought the Pirates still had a chance to make the playoffs. I kept repeating the same refrain: "The Cardinals aren't playing well against the Nationals; what the Pirates really need to do is rack up some wins against the Astros and Cubs next week." When I planned my flights for this weekend, I didn't book a return flight until this afternoon because I wanted to get to PNC on Labor Day. I was still hopeful that the Astros would rejuvenate the Pirates' season.
You can probably imagine that by yesterday afternoon at 1:35, I was running on pretty close to empty after a full weekend of festivities with family and friends that I just don't get to spend that much time with these days. The Pirate team that I watched yesterday played like I felt. The lineup the Astros trotted out on the field yesterday was a pathetic group of baseball players, but Jeff Locke couldn't get any of the 'Stros first three hitters out to save his life, and that resulted in a 5-0 lead after 4 1/2 innings. Think about that; on just the strength of Jose Altuve, Tyler Greene, and Brett Wallace, the Astros scored five runs. Locke was otherwise solid, but then he's been pretty solid at Triple-A all year and that's all the last six hitters in the Astros' lineup are right now, so I don't know why we'd expect anything else.
It didn't matter, though, because the Pirates never got anything going against 29-year old journeyman Edgar Gonzalez (released by the pitching-poor Rockies in July), who made his Astro debut yesterday. They did even worse against Mickey Storey and Wesley Wright in the last 3 2/3 innings. It was pretty brutal to watch in person.
What else is really left to say? It sure seems like the Pirates used whatever was left in the tank to take two wins from St. Louis in one last, desperate playoff gasp. It shouldn't require much to beat the Astros, but the Pirates were flat-out beaten by them yesterday without ever really even being in the game. The Pirates might have it in them to claw back into this playoff race one more time (now they're 2 1/2 behind St. Louis), but at this point it's really hard to see how that's going to happen.
Are you KIDDING... LONG UGLY 20 YEARS.. This owner does not really care to win...longest losing streak in pro sports.. You and everyone that goes to the park is part of the problem.. STOP GOING.. Root for real teams until this team is sold to ANYONE else......
Can they get to 82 wins? I'm beginning to strongly doubt it.
Is Hurdle deserving to come back if this team continues to slowly twirl down the 2012 drain? A month ago I still was a quasi Hurdle supporter but when I see Showalter, Madden, Bob Melvin (?) and Bud Black doing what they're doing with similar or lesser talent I'm extremely jealous.
The Pirates were extremely lucky the first 3/4 of the season in terms of injuries. Now you subtract their 2nd best hitter (at least from a consistency standpoint), Walker, plus pile up peripheral injuries to guys like Marte and Karstens and this team doesn't have the depth to stay afloat like say the Rays did. Plus we knew Cutch and Jmac couldn't possibly continue playing at the heights they were but who figured they'd fall totally off a cliff. When the team gets a brief hot streak from Jonesy or Pedro, things improve but they aren't consistent enough players to keep it going. Honestly, this is about a .500 team that played above their heads a long time and now we're experiencing a regression to the mean. A HARD regression.
IF the team from May and June comes back, then they MIGHT make the wild card. But since the All Star break, this is the same team from 2011.
But here's the thing. It's the same guys. And that wasn't smoke and mirrors like '11 was. May/June '12 was built on scoring runs early and often, getting guys out with aggressive pitching, and whacking home runs with guys on base in later innings. Swap out McGehee and Lincoln for Rodriguez and Snider and Sanchez, and they should be better. That's what the deadline deals boil down to. McGehee is hitting .186 for the Yankees (.560 OPS), and Lincoln hasn't set anything on fire since leaving, with a 4.56 ERA and 1.415 WHIP. Mock all you want about "all in", but TBMTIB made the team better at the deadline, and they went out and played worse.
Baseball is a game that is meant to be PLAYED. That's what we're not seeing. The team that hits the ball all over the yard? They're playing the game. The pitchers that go out there and dominate, they're playing, taking advantage of the team that's not.
It looks to me (from the cheap seats, mind you) that the pressure has gotten to the Bucs. It seemed to start when they got the chance to take a few days off, and looked at what they did and said to themselves, "Holy heck, WE did that?" And now here they are, playing truly meaningful baseball, and it just means too much for them to PLAY at it. Those early games, nothing was decided. Sure, a win in May and a win in September both count the same at the beginning of October, but at the same time not really they don't. The one in May is already in the bucket in September. But the ones in September are mostly still in the future and undecided, and now mean a whole hell of a lot more. And these guys didn't have to think about it back then, when the season was shaping up. And now they do. And it shows in the way they play. It's slipping away, and they know it, and their opponents know it and are taking advantage of it.
I'm actually headed home tomorrow and am going to the game tomorrow night. Hopefully Correia (yes Correia) can stop the bleeding...
Ownership changed five years ago and during the last two years they have hit the All Star break in first place. This year they hit September with a winning record. That is tangible progress and deserves some attention.
I live over 1,000 miles from Pittsburgh. I go to Spring Training games BECAUSE I LIKE THEM. When I make it home, I'll go to PNC Park to games BECAUSE I LIKE THEM. Sure this team has stunk for A LONG TIME, but this is MY team, YOUR team and OUR team. NO ONE is going to tell me NOT to root for my team because they don't like the way it's run. I don't agree with A LOT of how this team's management has run OUR team, yet, I'm not giving up. I haven't yet, WHY SHOULD I START NOW. I'll ALWAYS root for MY hometown team (and teams) and NOTHING will change that. The problem is people like you telling me who I should like and why. I stuck through the Penguins bad years with a young Lemieux, as well as the ones in between Mario and Sid. I remember the bad years of the mid to late '80s when the Steelers were bad. Stuck with them. I have A LOT of friends that are fans of "real" baseball teams (Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Dodgers) that ADMIRE the fact that I've stuck with the Pirates for all of these years. If YOU want to leave, be my guest, just don't blame us "REAL" fans when this team ACTUALLY DOES SOMETHING and you want back in. The bandwagoners may have to squeeze you out!!!
Frankly, I think that Hurdle received much too much credit when things were going well, and I don't think he needs to shoulder a whole lot of the blame now--yes, his small-ball tendencies can be maddening, and, as Pat has pointed out, his usage of the bullpen can be curious at best, but what Hurdle or any manager is worth plus or minus in terms of games is speculative at best. In my mind, the bigger question is what the front office and ownership is going to do now that Cutch is locked up, Marte is here, and Cole (and possibly Taillon) is here at some point in 2013. The "window" that many of us have talked about is here--but there is a stumbling block in a Reds club that could be very good for some time. At some point very soon, NH and ownership are going to have to make some bold--and expensive--moves. I think the big question facing this club is whether they will have the stomach for it.
@Andy Coulter I went to the games for many years.. but with the ownership as it is I quit several years ago.. to donate to these teams if fool hardy and unwise. You are paying for 20 years of this crapy ownership and making them profit from failure (not trying) and profiting is a crime in my eyes. MLB is as much at fault as we the fans for paying for this...
@Andy Coulter Yes the real fans are paying Mr Nutting to keep this team instead of selling it ...well enjoy. I have been a Pirate fan for 69 years.. As a real Pirate fan and I will voice my thoughts but not pay for inferior effort. If you knew what I know you would change your tune... So go spend your hard earned $$$ on this team.. It is your right to waste it...it is yours. As you have a right to your opinion just like me...
@wkkortas pretty much what I was grasping at back in the bedard trade post, well said
@WilliamPearce You know what would REALLY teach them a lesson? If you stopped commenting on them altogether. I mean, just talking about them is foolhardy and unwise. You should not say another word about the team until they win the World Series and thus have proven they actually made an effort. Seriously, give it a try.
@wkkortas i was absolutely CONVINCED Tomas Surovy was gonna be a star
@azibuck I totally agree..not worth wasting 20 min or 20 years on..lol The worst team in baseball Astros or Pirates?????