The Pittsburgh Pirates seem to be an up-and-down club. Is anyone surprised?
The Pittsburgh Pirates got shelled by the Washington Nationals last night, and the 12-4 beatdown might have shown us just how far away this club truly is from contention.
Then again, the team did just complete a three-game sweep of a division rival in the St. Louis Cardinals, to go along with a 2-1 series win against the Chicago Cubs earlier in the season.
Then again, the club did not show up during a four-game sweep against an improved but still beatable Philadelphia Phillies.
Then again, the team has beaten up on most of the teams that it should, such as the Miami Marlins and Cincinnati Reds.
Notice a pattern here?
Don’t act shocked
In many ways, the club’s solid start took many by surprise. Protestors and pessimists stood in direct oppose to hopefuls and homers. Many were down on this club going in, while many thought they could tread water, perhaps escaping with a modest winning record.
So far, the tread water crew is winning. Barely.
And that should not be a surprise even in light of the team’s 17-11 April record before heading to Washington.
The reasons are many.
Despite some considerable talent on this Pittsburgh Pirates club, the roster is still the fourth-youngest in all of baseball at an average of 27.4 years of age.
Though Trevor Williams has been a revelation, Chad Kuhl has struggled at times. Corey Dickerson represents a huge addition, struggles from two of the club’s younger players — Josh Bell and Gregory Polanco — have dampened the team’s potential for big-time run creation.
The bullpen was a wreck over the season’s first two weeks — to be fair, most MLB bullpens see radical change during the season’s first month — and though it has solidified of late, there is a school of thought that it can still improve in key spots.
What you are seeing night in and night out from the Pittsburgh Pirates is nothing more than growing pains of a young club compounded by talented players struggling to find consistency.
Going into the season, perhaps you expected less than that of this club.
However, now that the myths about the team’s talent levels have more or less been disproved, don’t act surprised at their creakiness.