From July 26th - July 31st, the Cardinals lost seven games in a row. From August 7th - August 10th, they lost four in a row.
On June 19th, the Dodgers were 29-40.
The Braves lost 8 of 11 from April 17th - April 28th and 11 of 15 if you drag it out to May 3rd. They lost five of six a week later and four in a row from June 10th - 14th.
The Pirates themselves have lost five of six games three times this year prior to this most recent ugly road trip. Bad things happen to good teams. This is the nature of a 162 game season. What makes this slump different than the one that opened the season, their bad week against the Braves and Reds in late May/early June, or that ugly ten day stretch against the Phillies, Cubs, and A's right after their nine-game winning streak? What's different about it other than timing?
The Royals are are 62-57, 5 1/2 games out of the second wild card spot in the American League. Their franchise player plays for the Tampa Bay Rays. Their fans have mostly convinced themselves to have fun with this run, because their hot streak is coming in August and not May and because they literally don't have anything better than this to look forward to.
The Pirates are not playing well right now. There's no point in pretending otherwise. And still, despite not playing all that well, they were two extra inning losses away from sweeping the Cardinals at Busch Stadium this week. There are 42 games left this season. Nothing that the Pirates have done all year indicates that they're going to play poorly for such an expansive stretch of baseball. This weekend, they have a change to bury the Diamondbacks behind them in the standings. Another Cardinals series is two weeks away. The Reds are waiting at the end of the season. The Pirates are still in first place.
The Pirates have to start playing better than they have in the last week. There's precious little evidence to suggest that they're not capable of that.
While the Pirates haven't played their best as of late, the one encouraging thing is that they don't look like they get deflated by these losses--they're still competitive as hell and they don't fold like I've seen teams of the past fold. Perhaps it's time to give AJ a game off and let Gomez start?