Saturday, September 29, 2012

Homer Simpson he ain't

28 years = 20 years

The first no-hitter for the Reds in 28 years means that the Pittsburgh Pirates will now go 20 years without a winning season.

No offense to Homer Bailey, but the Pirates last night were no hit by a #4 starter.  

The Pirates were 16 games over .500 as late as August 8th.  Since then, they've compiled a record of 13-34.  In case you were wondering, that's a .277 winning percentage. 

Are the Pirates turning a corner?  In a way, yes they are.  There are still a lot of questions to be answered over the off season again for them...such as:

The Pirates now have a glut of outfield talent, 6 to be exact.  Jones, McCutchen, Marte, Presley, Tabata and Snider.  Do they trade one of those bats to get themselves another proven starting pitcher.

The pitching staff, which was one of the best the first four months, wound up full of bullet holes by the end of August.  They have Burnett and Rodriguez as a solid 1-2 punch, but after that there are a lot of questions.  Karstens can't stay healthy.  J-Mac had a great first half but fell off a cliff the 2nd half.  Erik Bedard was released.  Correia will likely not be resigned.  The kids (Locke, McPherson) may be ready to step in, but they are still pretty green.  The bullpen is still solid but needs a little more depth other than Chad Qualls and Hisanori Takahashi.  The trade of Brad Lincoln turned out to be negative for the Pirates, not because Travis Snider didn't perform, it was because the Pirates lost a swing man who was more valuable than they thought.

There is also the problem of the lack of a true leadoff hitter; a guy who can set the table for McCutchen, Jones and Alvarez.  The catching tandem of Barajas and McKenry will have to be upgraded, and shortstop Clint Barmes may be replaced as well. 

While I still compare this team to the Blue Jays of the early 80's (lots of young talent but very green), there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered in order for the team not to turn the losing streak to 21 years.

One of the promotional commercials that was played a lot during the season was "finish".  Finish the at bat, finish the game, finish the season.  

The Pirates failed to finish the season this year, and if they do so next year, I have a feeling that a lot of Pirates management will be finished. If that happens, we may just see the longest sub .500 streak rocket towards a silver anniversary.  I'd hate to see that, because it was fun to watch Pedro Alvarez this season mature into a full time player, and I'd love to see him carry this team to a playoff spot sooner rather than later.

Thanks for reading, Robert

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