The Pirates have an off-day today for the first time since August 2nd. I had hoped that they would make it through this last 20-game stretch with a record of 12-8. Had they pulled that off, they'd have a commanding lead for the second wild card spot, and they'd be 2 1/2 games behind the Reds in the NL Central (I'm assuming that one of the five extra wins that I'm trying to find for them would have come against the Reds, so it'd be a six-game swing and not a five-game one). Instead, the Pirates went 7-13. This has not been as disastrous as it might seem; the Pirates only just now dropped out of the second wild card spot and they're still a half-game behind the Cardinals, who they play next week.
The Pirates were shut down by an unimpressive rookie last night who was in the Frontier League in 2010. They need this off day. I kind of think us Pirate fans need it, too. Regroup, regroup, regroup. There's still baseball left to play.
Playing the toughest part of our schedule and arguable our worst baseball of the season at the same time and managing a 7-13 is actually an outcome I'm not horribly upset by. The remaining schedule isn't too horrible and the Pirates are still right in the thick of things for a playoff spot. My main concern is that we will wait until Sept. 1 before we get our 25 best guys on the roster at the same time.
@Joshiswrite I've had it with "the easiest part of the schedule/hardest part of the schedule" approach. The Pirates haven't been playing good fundamental baseball on any kind of a regular basis since before the AS break. I know the Astros are pitiful and the Cubs are certainly beatable but I'm more worried about how the Bucs play (and how Hurdle manages) and less concerned with the opposition.
The reason the buccos just got swept is clear to me. The various wives and girlfriends are on this road trip; it is basic Pirate protocol not to allow women aboard ship, as they bring bad luck.
I believe it was Grumpy, the most sophisticated of the Seven Dwarfs, who so eloquently said "All females is poison!"
@jedmiller71 Mermaids = manatees n'at
@whygavs Yup. The breakdown of fundamental baseball has been the most disheartening. Not just the players. Coaches also need a refresher.
It pains me to say it, but the team right now looks like all the other teams of the past 10 years: mediocre pitching, untimely outs with runners in scoring position, lots of strike outs, bad fielding and bad base running. 7-13? That's .350, which is pretty normal for the Bucs of the millennium.
Sigh. I'm trying to resist the knowledge that football is right around the corner. Really, I am. I don't want to stumble to 86 wins and feel happy, because I won't feel happy about that. This is a team that has shown that it can take it right to the very best that MLB can offer, and I will settle for nothing less than what I saw in June. Sorry. I've seen it, and I want more of it.
@TomBrenholts Yes, we all loved June but we now have no McGehee or Jeff Lincoln (but we've got Chad Qualls - whoohoo!), JMac looks like 2011 or worse, most of the bullpen is now leaky and overall team fundamentals are horrific. Also, Cutch was ON FIRE back then, now he's only average and becoming a strikeout machine ala the rest of the lineup.
I've chosen to settle for an 82+ win season and try to put out of my mind how good this club was 2 months ago.
In the off-season I'd trade Alvarez and a AAA pitcher that they seem not to want to try at the MLB level for Chase Headley in a instant. All of these K's coming from our lineup have become accepted and it leads to far too many men LOB. Also, the Dodgers AAA catcher (Federovowicz?) should be in NH's sights. He's a nice talent behind the plate and can hit far better than Barajas.
@mwr505 @TomBrenholts The Pirates don't have Brad Lincoln, either. And the problem still isn't that Qualls didn't replicate Lincoln's productivity, it's that the management thought he would, and apparently they still think that. There are plenty of other pitchers in the system that would come closer, but they aren't in the bullpen now.
@whygavs on opening day if you knew Bucs would be 10 gms over .500 and within .5gm of WC you'd have been stoked!