Momentum is a strange thing. A few weeks ago, we wrote an article about how the Pirates we riding high, one game over .500 and giving fans reason to believe that good things were right around the corner. I wrote an article about how many games over .500 they have been in the past 18 years. Everything was about .500 and how the team was humming along nice and smoothly. Then we got to the top of the roller coaster.
The team promptly dropped six games in a row. All hope was lost. This was clearly the same old Buccos, with no hope, well on its way to another 100 loss season, needing a new general manager, needing to get rid of some of the key players. Definitely at the bottom of the roller coaster.
But then they won four in a row, and were back to within a game of .500, ready to take the next step of maturing into a good and improving team. Charlie Morton was looking not only like an All Star, but a Cy Young worthy pitcher. Neil Walker bobblehead day was a sellout crowd, and all was good in Buccoland. Things were clicking again with only the Sunday finale of the Tigers’ series left to play. Back to the top of that coaster.
Until we were blanked 2-0 by the Tigers. And then blanked 2-0 by the Braves. And then lost in extras to the Braves again, managing no runs driven in by any player other than Steve Pearce for three full games, and only two total. The offense stinks. We can’t support Paul Maholm or Charlie Morton, and let a good performance by James McDonald go to waste. Time to get rid of Matt Diaz and Lyle Overbay and… oh wait, we’re just at the bottom of the roller coaster again.
Having a young baseball team is like being on a roller coaster. And roller coasters are fun. So you might as well strap yourself in and enjoy the ride. This is a young baseball team. We are going to have 4 game winning streaks and 6 game losing streaks. We’re going to have thrilling 9th inning come from behind wins and games where we can’t get a hit to save our lives. And it’s going to make everyone on the team better because of it.
There are some really good positives about this team. And a year ago at this time, when Neil Walker had just played in his first big league game, and some other key pieces were still in Indy, you could not say that same thing about this team. Joel Hanrahan has been lights out. Charlie Morton dominant. Paul Maholm has been the best 1-7 pitcher in baseball this year, and really one of the better pitchers in baseball regardless of records. Kevin Correia and James McDonald and Jeff Karstens have been good. Brad Lincoln is looking really good in Indy, and we can’t find a place for him in Pittsburgh. That thrills me. When’s the last time we had a good player in the minors and no room for them on the big league roster? Heck, I can’t wait until we have that issue at other positions (like shortstop or 1B).
Sure, lots of guys need to find their rhythm still. And there is no guarantee that they will. But this team will be fun to watch this year. And next year, they might be really fun to watch. And the next year, even more fun to watch. I don’t remember the last time that has been the case.
So while there are plenty of ups and downs this year, and you don’t really know what you are going to get night in and night out… I think that is better than the past when you did know what you were going to get, and it wasn’t a good thing.
Enjoy the roller coaster.
Category: Pirates News