Friday night, August 3, 2012 – Pirates trail the Reds by 3.5 games before losing to the Reds in Cincinnati that night. It was a game where new Pirates pitcher, Wandy Rodriguez, threw a pretty good game, but game up a couple of key hits, including an inside the park home run to Chris Heisey and a 2 run home run to opposing pitcher, Mat Latos. Latos kept the Pirates in check all night, and then in the 9th inning, trailing 3-0 and with two outs, NL PLayer of the Month for June and July Andrew McCutchen was intentionally hit by a 101 mph fastball from Aroldis “Coward” Chapman.
The next two days, no Pirates pitcher retaliated for what happened to their franchise player. No fight. No standing up for themselves. No anything.
Perhaps this was foreshadowing of who this team really is, as since that night the Pirates have shown very little fight in going 12-23 and doing their absolute best to fall out of the National League playoff picture, and perhaps out of contention for ending the 19 straight losing seasons.
Most recently, the Pirates were ‘out-hearted’ by the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs – two teams who were a combined 70.5 games out of first place at the time, the Pirates losing 4 out of 6 games at PNC Park, where at one point somehow not too long ago, they actually owned the best home record in Major League Baseball.
Despite the horrendous results that the Pirates have floundered their way to since August 3, they still find themselves only two games behind St. Louis in the loss column, and likely will be tied with the Dodgers in the loss column at the end of the night tonight – in the battle for the 2nd and final Wild Card spot.
So there are two ways to look at things… 1 – if this team played even mediocre baseball against some of the worst teams in the league for the past month, they’s have around a 5 game lead in the Wild Card race right now. And then there’s #2 – Despite playing their worst, un-inspiring baseball of the season for the past month and change, this team somehow is still in the midst of a playoff race.
The Cardinals are 2 games up in the loss column, are battling injuries, and are headed west for a 7 game trip against the Padres and Dodgers, while finishing the season against Washington and Cincinnati. That is sandwiched around series with Houston, Chicago and Houston. The Dodgers have a brutally tough stretch remaining as well.
The Pirates need to realize that there is a playoff spot there for the taking. But they have to take it. Nobody is going to give it to them. And as much as I hate calling out my team… they may have to scratch and claw and fight for it.
And it begins tomorrow night, where Wandy Rodriguez battles Mat Latos in Cincinnati. Again.
Category: Pirates News