Pirates Are Trying to Salvage a Promising Season Gone Bad

Pittsburgh Pirates

(from New York Times, September 24, 2012)  The only thing the Pittsburgh Pirates could find comfort in while taking the field this past Monday was the fact that the Mets knew their pain.  The Mets had September collapses in 2007, 2008, and again this year.  The Pirates, however, could be on their way to setting new records, but not the kind of records you want your team’s name next to.

On August 8, the Pirates had a record of 63-47. That record made them 16 games over .500 and put them three games ahead of the Cardinals for the second wild-card spot in the National League.  It seemed as though they would not only snap their streak of 19 consecutive losing seasons, but also grab a spot in the 2012 postseason.  After losing 31 of their last 43 games, however, any hope of a playoff berth has vanished.

As of Monday night, the Pirates were 75-78.  Manager, Clint Hurdle, has said there has not been any consistency since July.  Pittsburgh has faulted both offensively and defensively.  In September, relievers were 0-6 and had an ERA of 5.77.  The top two starters, A.J. Burnett and James McDonald, have not had the success they did in the first half of the season either.  Offensively the team’s numbers have dropped since the first half as well.  The numbers are the explanation, but Hurdle said, “Maturity and mental toughness are factors in a young clubhouse that was not used to winning.”  Hurdle has also taken responsibility as well by stressing that they are all in this together.

So with their season coming to an end, what do the Pirates strive for now?  Where the goal was once securing the second wild-card spot, it will now be to win at least seven of their final nine games and give their franchise a winning season for the first time in 20 years.  Outfielder Garrett Jones stressed, “We need to win at all cost.”