I suppose that my opinion that these Pirates are a better team than the teams that have taken the field in the past couple years isn't really enough to keep them out of last place. Despite "only" being seven games out of first place, the Pirates are three games behind the Astros for fifth place. With the way the team is playing right now, it certainly feels like they have some more room to slip.
Tonight, the Pirates take their two game losing skid up against Mike Hampton, who's entire "revitalization" this year has depended on his three starts (and subsequent wins) against the Pirates. Remove the 20 innings in which he's only given up two runs and 12 hits to us and his numbers this year look substantially worse. Virgil Vasquez gets the start for the Pirates. I strongly suspect that the pitcher Vasquez will end up being for the Pirates will be much more like the one that struggled mightily against the Cubs last week, as opposed to the one that dominated the Royals, but I suppose it's still early enough in his stint with the Bucs to hope that anything is possible, even if most of the evidence suggests otherwise.