Welcome to Pittsburgh Pirates Highs and Lows. Every Monday, I am going to look back on the week that was for the Pirates and give you my best and worst moment.
Momma told me there would be weeks like this! The Pittsburgh Pirates seemed to have decided to stop playing good baseball over the past few weeks and this one was no different. They once again failed to win a series and just can’t seem to get out of their own way.
Baseball is a difficult sport to follow when things are going well since you have so many games to watch. When your team is on a long losing streak, it’s nearly unbearable. It essentially becomes Einstein’s theory of insanity, which is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. We keep watching the Pirates hoping they will get back to the baseball they played in April and most of May but they just keep losing. It doesn’t matter what team they’re facing or who is on the mound for the Pirates, the end result seems to be the other team high diving and celebrating a victory.
When the team is mired in such a funk, it makes finding good moments increasingly difficult. I try to pick moments that end with a Pirates victory. However, lately, that is much harder to come by. Thankfully, there was at least one obvious moment this past week. When the team is struggling, it’s important to hang onto the nice moments because you never know when another one is coming your way.
The Pittsburgh Pirates entered the series against the Chicago Cubs losers of six straight series and it didn’t take long for the Pirates to lose their seventh. The Cubs took the first two games and it didn’t really seem all that dramatic. Once again, the Pirates needed to avoid the sweep. Game three began with a much-needed bang as Josh Harrison stepped up to the plate.
A 1-0 lead in the first inning isn’t a guarantee of anything but it certainly set a good tone for the Pirates as they ended up cruising to a 7-1 win in the finale at Wrigley Field. One win in a three-game series is not worthy of celebration but the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. Hopefully, the Pirates can build off this win and get back to playing good baseball. The team is under .500 and dangerously close to being irrelevant in any meaningful playoff chase. June and July should be the prime baseball months in the city of Pittsburgh since the Penguins are done and the Steelers have yet to begin training camp. If the Pirates want fans back inside PNC Park, they have to play well and start winning again. Otherwise, we’re officially back in the “City of Champions…and the Pirates” era.
The Pirates are not going to have 20 losing seasons in a row again but they are coming up on a third straight under .500 campaign if they don’t get their act together. Sports are a what have you done for me lately business and the 2013-2015 seasons were a long, long time ago.
The Pirates entered the final game of their series with the Los Angeles Dodgers with a great opportunity to win the series. The Dodgers were forced literally use their entire bullpen since their scheduled starter was a late scratch with an injury. The Pirates’ offense did their part and scored seven runs, however, the Pirates pitching massively let them own.
This game could be considered a low by itself but to me, the lowest point of this game was the two home runs by Joc Pederson. Pederson is a talented player, so him having a multi-homer game isn’t surprising but it just felt like a gut punch since the Pirates had such a good chance to win this game. Pederson made it so the Pirates were never really in the game. To the Pirates credit, they did battle back and make the game close but that doesn’t mean anything since moral victories don’t count in the standings. Losing to a team when you score seven runs is frustrating but losing to a team when they lose their starting pitcher moments before the game is mind-numbingly annoying.
When things aren’t going well it seems a different aspect lets you down every game. If the Pirates get a solid starting pitching performance from Jameson Taillon, they likely win the game and the series. That didn’t happen and the Pirates bullpen finished the job and allowed the Dodgers to escape with an 8-7 win. Baseball can truly be a stupid game sometimes.
It’s a cliche but a true one that baseball is a 162 game marathon. You will have good and bad stretches. You just need to hope the bad stretches don’t last this long. When they do, it becomes increasingly difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Intellectually, you know the Pirates will turn it around and have a good streak of baseball soon. However, when you fall this far, it becomes more difficult to pick yourself back up. The Pirates will play well and win some games again but it may not be enough to put them back in contention.