What more can be said about the second-straight, second-half collapse by the Pittsburgh Pirates? It's getting to the point that even talking about them is an exhausting endeavor. I didn't want to believe that the slow slide of the team in August was the beginnings of a collapse, but here we are with just 13 games left in the season, and the Pirates are one game below .500 for the first time since June, losers of 31 of their last 45 games. If that's not a collapse, I'd really hate to see one.
A lot of Pirates fans will tell you that even approaching 80 victories is a show of improvement. I agree to an extent, but it's all relative, and I think the fans were expecting a little more down the stretch after such a promising first 104 games.
Everytime you think things couldn't get any worse, and the hole can't get any deeper, the Pirates seem to dig a new low. Take today's game for example. After falling behind, 4-0, to the Milwaukee Brewers this afternoon at PNC Park, I didn't have much hope that the team would salvage the final game of the three-game series. However, thanks to Andrew McCutchen and, yes, Clint Barmes, the Pirates actually stormed back to take a 7-4 lead. I've all but lost any hope in a postseason berth, but a nice Thursday afternoon victory similar to the one against the Dodgers on a Thursday afternoon at PNC last month that salvaged the final game of a four-game series would have at least been something. And it would have inched them a little closer to that 81 win mark (I don't even care about 82 wins at this point).
But at the same time, I also had that sense of dread that the Brewers were just waiting for the once dominant Pirates bullpen to collapse, and their patience paid off. The Pirates relievers, led by Chad Qualls and Chris Resop, gave up four runs in the 8th inning and another in the 9th as the Pirates fell, 9-7.
Where do the Pirates go from here? Who knows? I do know that for the 20th straight season, there won't be anything for Pirates fans to feel proud of--even if they manage to finish with a winning record. An 82 win season would still mean a 22-36 finish.
Doesn't feel like a winner to me.