The Pirates are off today. The Pirates will not be off again until August 22nd. Between now and then they will
- Play a three-game series in Cincinnati against the NL Central-leading Reds. The Reds currently lead the Pirates by three games and they play at 12:35 this afternoon against the Padres. Ross Ohlendorf is pitching for the Padres.
- They go home for an 11-game homestand that includes four games against the Diamondbacks (currently 54-51, 2 1/2 back in the NL West, 5 1/2 back of the Braves for the second wild card (and thus 6 1/2 back of the Pirates), three against the Padres (44-62), and four against the Dodgers (56-50, one back of the Giants, four back of the Braves, five back of the Pirates).
- They go back on the road for three in St. Louis to play a dangerous Cardinal team that is currently 56-48 and four games behind the Pirates, but that pretty much everyone is expecting a surge from before this season ends.
- They close out with three games in San Diego, which isn't all that bad except that they're going from St. Louis to San Diego without an off day at the end of a 20-games-in-20-days stretch.
I like calling that team from Cincinnati the "Redlegs". It makes them sound older and tells me that most all of the players have are slow and have mustaches. Also, when i hear "Reds" I normally think of the 1970s Big Red Machine and that bunch more often than not had their way with the Pirates. Good Luck this weekend, Buccos. We all hope that we'll be raising the Jolly Roger regularly the next 20 days.
I'm also hoping that when my wife and i come back to Pittsburgh in early September for her sister's wedding, the Bucs will be (hopefully) VERY CLOSE to win number 82 while we're there and attending! One can only hope... And as I type this, Slipknot's "Before I Forget" is on Orlando's rock station. I can only think of the Hammer trotting in for the ninth on that night of win number 82!!!
I've been telling a friend at work that this is the first year in A LONG TIME that I'm not spending all of August worried about Steelers Training Camp!
I became a Pirates fan when I was still in high school back in the late 1950s and they begin their climb out of being perennial cellar dwellers/7th place finishers in the late 50s. I was rewarded by my hero, Roy Face, going 17-0 in 1959 before he lost a game (and had won six in a row from the year before) and seeing Maz beat the Yankees from my desk in study hall (the put the series games in school in those days). These season is incredible for long suffering Pirates fans. We need Cincy to lose today and we need to win 2 of 3 or 3 of 3 and go from there, but I am going to stop viewing August with apprehension. These guys have learned how to win and, just as importantly, never to give up in a game.
Hey Pat, you have a really great blog here. I've been reading it off and on for a few years but I've been a religious reader over past two. I've been a Pirate fan since birth and I vividly remember Sid Bream sliding into home when I was 14 years old. I literally cried until the screen went fuzzy as the channel went off the air a few hours later. I kept the faith for a long time and even got excited over the Chad Hermanson, Kevin Young, Al Martin and Brian Giles years. I used to be somewhat like you...I knew all the stats by heart and could name the AA starting lineup without thinking but as the years went by and the losses piled up I fell out of touch. After last season I told myself I wouldn't get my hopes up anymore but as I find myself watching every single Pirate game it's pretty evident that my hopes are sky high and honestly it doesn't matter to me how they finish this season. They have already given me the best baseball season in 20 years. I'm excited, my kids are excited and baseball is fun again. So thank you Pirates and thank you Pat for giving me a great place to read anything and everything Pirate related. Keep up the good work!
A lunatic I proudly am. I believe in the untapped potential of this current team which they are getting closer to realizing. Can't play this good for this long as a team without there being something there.
@Steelreign I agree with you, Steel. Other than pitching, I still can't see how they are doing it with a rookie in right, a damned-near-a-rookie in left, Barajas behind the plate, Barmes at short and Pedro with a sub-par average. But, if Barmes saves a run or so a game with his defense and makes up for his anemic bat. If the Fort gets 2/3 of the starts and Marte and Snider hit their stride, we could be in for one Hell of ride. And 50/51 - 0 when leading after seven.
One thing that needs to stop is dumb base running plays and ill-timed attempted steals, probably called by Hurdle, and give-up-an-out bunts from anyone but a pitcher and then only in a tie game in late innings. Maybe, I am not a rocket scientist in baseball science, but Hurdle has made some very dumb calls at time.
And leave Garrett Jones at first base and let him drive in runs. He is DANGEROUS any time.
And let Harrison play more often at shortstop. The kid loves to compete.
The current team finds ways to get it down and the atmosphere is infectious, the best in 20 years. It should rub off on Marte and Snider.
If the post all-star break stretch was the Bucs chance to pick up some ground and win some games, then this is certainly their chance to fall back and lose some. They have gone 11-5 since the start of the Rockies series, so while they didn't play their best, they came out the other side with pretty good results. Now there's no room for error(s). They can't afford to have everyone in the rotation have a bad outing or minislump. They can't afford to have Garrett Jones moving up one base on a double, trapping Walker between 2nd and 3rd. They can't afford to EVER play Josh Harrison in the outfield. They can't afford to start Barajas 2/3 of the time out of "seniority" when McKenry is hitting ten times better. They need to be at their sharpest if they're going to take a series from any of these teams (other than the Padres), and while piling up wins against shitty teams helps a lot, it's beating the good teams that are in the race with you that gets you into the playoffs. It was nice to see two emphatic wins in a row before the off day, as I would have been a whole lot more scared if they stumbled into this stretch with a pair of barely-wins that they've been getting a lot of lately. Still, gotta be excited AND nervous about these 20 games.
excuse me, but i distinctly remember being told we were supposed to have an "easy" second half...
on the bright side, we miss Cueto this weekend – he's pitching this afternoon vs. SD.
Agony has never been so glorious. I almost don't want to watch these games, because I may die with every pitch.
The key to any Pirates success is getting J-Mac going and helping him stay on the right track. With Burnett, J-Mac, Rodriguez, and Karstens all pitching like they are able to, that gives the Pirates the best rotation in the NL Central. The staff is on and the Pirates go 15-5.....16-4 during this stretch and at worst, 13-7 which would put them 22 games over. 500
Cincinnati, Pirates take the series 2-1; DBacks, Pirates 3-1 or 2-2; Padres, Pirates 3-0; Dodgers, Pirates 3-1 or 2-2; St. Louis on the road, 2-1; Padres on the road, 2-1, possibly 3-0. Best scenario15-5, worst 12-8. ;-)
I'd call being 12-8 as the worst-case scenario lunatic optimism, but I don't want to get sued by lunatics.
@wkkortas We shall see whether it is lunatic optimism or not. 12-8 is where they would be if they play at their current winning pct. of .577. They have 11 games at home, six games home and away with San Diego and a chance for a split or better on the road with Cincinnati and St. Louis.
I know it's going to be a stressful weekend, Pat, but I'd advise you to go easy on those Arrogant Bastards. A few of those, and you can end up wearing women's underwear and waking up next to a mannequin. Ummm...so I've heard, anyway.
Well, the good news is that the Reds only have one day off in the next 27 days or something too, so it's a fair fight. Go Bucs!