Last Sunday, right after the Pirates vanquished the St. Louis Cardinals in 19 exhausting innings, I was pretty excited and pumped up. However, that feeling of excitement didn't last long. The Pirates "character building" win in St. Louis was followed by a trip to San Diego, where the Pirates got swept by the craptastic Padres. The Pirates are home for a weekend series with the Brewers followed by a crucial three-game stint next week with those same Cardinals who they are battling in the wild card standings. Pretty big, right? How did Pittsburgh respond in game one of the home stand? By looking awful and losing to Milwaukee, 6-5.
There are a lot of overly optimistic Pirates fans floating around the Internet who only see this current 4-11 stretch as a mere bump in the road. No, my friends, I do not agree. A bump in the road is a week's worth of bad play. This bump is starting to turn into one huge mountain, and if the Pirates don't get their act together soon, they'll, once again, be on the wrong side of that elusive .500 mark. There are so many people out there who have already put the long sought-after winning season (or at least non-losing, anyway) in the bank. "Oh, it would take a collapse of epic proportions for them not to finish with at least 81 wins."
Oh really? These are the Pittsburgh Pirates we're talking about. If any team is capable of an August and September meltdown, it's our lovable Buccos.
A lot of people pointed to the Pirates' 19 inning loss in Atlanta in late July as a turning point in the wrong direction for the 2011 Pirates. Shortly after the loss, which was extremely controversial because of a blown call by home plate umpire Jerry Meals, the Pirates quickly hit the skids and went 19-43 down the stretch to finish at 72-90.
Right now, the Pirates are 67-58, and they have 37 games remaining in the season. In-order for them to finish below .500, they'd have to go 13-24. That's not exactly impossible. It's a .351 winning percentage. The Buccos got to 60 wins after 104 games. Since then, they're 7-14. That's a winning percentage of .333. Starting at that 104 game mark, it would take a 20-38 mark down the stretch for the Pirates to go 80-82. That's a .344 winning percentage.
Beware, Pirates fans. That's all I'm saying.