It’s about right that the offense would finally score some runs, six to be exact, while the starters and bullpen completely implode to run this losing streak to seven games and put the Pirates NL wildcard hopes on life support.
Just like most losing streaks go, nothing is going right. When the starting pitching is on the top of its game, the offense is vacant. When the offense hits a little, the bullpen then falters and blows the game. Then you have games like yesterday when your starting is knocked out early and your former 5th starter who was demoted to the bullpen because he’s been awful comes in to be your long reliever and can barely get through an inning without giving up a run.
Twitter was fun during and following the game as my timeline was full of people jumping off the bandwagon and offering up dramatic responses to why the team is struggling in such pathetic fashion especially in the past two games. I saw everything from “Hurdle and NH need to go, McCutchen sucks and lost it, the team quit on Hurdle, there’s no spirit on the team, they need a leader, etc, etc, etc.”
Such a lazy response to say the team quit on Hurdle. So when McCutchen grounded into a double play in the 1st inning with two on, no out, he wasn’t trying then? But in the bottom of the 5th inning when he blasted a two-run shot to dead center, he was suddenly trying again? When Starling Marte legged out an infield single to second base in the 8th inning, he was trying, but wasn’t when he lost a ball in the sun earlier in the game? Do I have this right? The “players have given up” is one of the laziest responses fans or media can give to why the team is struggling. Forget actually trying to analyze what’s happening. That would require some thought.
Here’s an idea—maybe this team is just blatantly average? That’s not a possibility at all? The team has a lot of young talent, but it takes time for young players to put it all together. Everyone struggles from time to time. So you have some young talent who’s getting their feet wet along with a MVP candidate having a rare down year and a starting rotation that was overrated and fell apart for the first two months of the year and has been a struggle since. Mix in your catcher and Gerrit Cole missing time with injuries and you have a 67-68 team on September 6. It shouldn’t be shocking or treated like it’s the end of the world for fans. It takes time for things to come together for a young team especially a team with young starting pitching.
Teams miss playoffs in baseball. Look at the Giants, they won three World Series championships from 2010-2014. What did they do in between and last season? They missed the playoffs. How could a team that won three World Series in five years miss the playoffs completely in the two years in between? Because it happens. It’s incredibly difficult to make the playoffs in MLB even with the extra wildcard team added in past three years. Stop acting like this is the NHL or NFL in that when you miss the playoffs, it’s an obvious disappointing season. This fan base needs to get a grip.