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Time for Pirates fans to panic yet?

Aug 15, 2012, 8:20 AM EDT

Los Angeles Dodgers v Pittsburgh Pirates Getty Images

It’s been a great ride for the Pirates thus far, but as of late it’s getting a little bumpy.

The Pirates have lost five of six and are 16-15 since the break. Part of this? The starting pitching has faltered a bit. James McDonald has gotten noticed for his bumpy second half, but the rotation overall has had its issues.

More troubling is the offense, which has helped carry them after a slow start from the non-McCutchen components. Since the break the team OBP is .309.  The Pirates were frisky when McCutchen was carrying the team by himself, but they began to look like serious contenders only when others began to contribute. They need that overall contribution to resume to stay above water.

I’m not declaring the Pirates dead or anything. It’s merely been a bad week. But right now the Giants/Dodgers duo and the Cardinals look like threats. And given our lack of data on how this Pirates team responds when pushed, they’re definitely worth watching.

  1. Charles Gates - Aug 15, 2012 at 8:24 AM

    The Wild Caaaaarrrrrrrggghhhhhd.

  2. paperlions - Aug 15, 2012 at 8:36 AM

    That OBP is an improvement over what they did in the first half (.300)….they’ve actually raised their team OBP to .302. This is a team with no room for error.

  3. heyzeus143 - Aug 15, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    Stick a fork in them Bucs

  4. magicrat13 - Aug 15, 2012 at 8:49 AM

    i was hoping for a .500+ season this year, and i am still hopeful we will get it…honestly i did not the playoffs were a possibility….i was thinking 2013 was more likely….we are still a couple young players away…we rely too much on a handful of players and the bucs need to get some of the younger players ready and called up…

    now is the time to get rid of the players who will not help us this year or next (e.g. qualls, etc) and bring on the younger players (e.g. morris, etc) who can help this year and have some experience come 2013…

    • paperlions - Aug 15, 2012 at 8:55 AM

      To the Pirates credit, they did manage to pick up some minor upgrades without giving up any of their top prospects. If they could have signed Appel, their future pitching would have looked even better….but they don’t really have much in the way of position players left in the minors, do they? They traded Grossman, who I think was their 2nd best position prospect (behind Marte).

      • redguy12588 - Aug 15, 2012 at 9:01 AM

        Pirates have polanco, bell, and Hanson as legit blue chip position prospects. All 18-19 years old, but still at least 2 years out.

      • napoleonblownapart6887 - Aug 15, 2012 at 9:25 AM

        I would agree that Grossman was one of the Pirates better hitting prospects, but most people had Hanson above him this year, as well as Bell pre-injury. Also Grossman gets a lot of pub because KLaw thinks really highly of him, but generally speaking other folks have more tempered expectations

  5. napoleonblownapart6887 - Aug 15, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    I think it’s too early to say that the Pirates are “done” but I hope people also recognize that in a lot of respects they are playing with house money at this point. An over .500 season was the goal at the beginning of the year and it remains that way. Anything else is bonus IMO.

    I’m concerned that Chicken Little Pirates fans are making too much out of a funky run the past week or so. Even the best teams go cold – it’s the nature of a 162 game season. Ride it out, string a few victories together and get back on track.

    Also, as redguy mentioned earlier, this team stands to see a steady influx of talent over the next 2-3 years. Guys like Cole, Taillon, Bell, Hanson, Polanco, maybe even Wilson and Tony Sanchez, are all great young players who are going to be joining the big club. Be happy for what we have now, but recognize that this is the foundation on which (hopefully) playoff runs will be made in the future.

  6. muir6 - Aug 15, 2012 at 9:44 AM


  7. florida76 - Aug 15, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    I’m not sure how anyone can suggest the Pirates are finished with so many games left in the season, and the club is a strong playoff contender. A rough patch to be sure, but adversity was certain to arrive at some point this season.

    To even be in the discussion for the playoffs in mid-August would have been considered insane before the season, so we need to gain some perspective here. A winning season would be a huge success for the Bucs, which would officially end the streak, and that cannot be minimized. Who was the last MLB team to lose 105 games, and two seasons later, finish with a winning record?

    That tells you how far this organization has come in a very short time span, and the future looks bright. The probable 2012 NL MVP signed a long term deal before the season, and the farm system is improving.

    • madhatternalice - Aug 15, 2012 at 1:29 PM

      Who is suggesting the Pirates are “finished?” Did you even read the article?

      I’m not declaring the Pirates dead or anything.

      I mean, it’s right there…

  8. amunoz78 - Aug 15, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    A .500 season may have been the goal at the beginning of the year, but missing the playoffs at this point would have to be a disappointment. A .500 season would mean finishing 17-29. You can’t tell me Pirates fans would be satisfied with that. I know I wouldn’t be.

    • kkolchak - Aug 15, 2012 at 11:00 AM

      The curse of rising expectations rears its ugly head yet again. Even if the Pirates miss the playoffs this year, they are a team on the rise.

  9. gogigantos - Aug 15, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    Not sure how to panic when the team has exceeded all expectations and laid promising foundations for the future. Last season’s run was a mirage, a good fan would have seen that. This season is a solid base for the future, the faithful know that. Ending a run of so many years in the cellar is a good gooooooooooood deal. Getting right after this bad spell and making a run at more is all gravy baby. Next few seasons are the test for this squad, management, and fans.
    go buccos

  10. kfiz14 - Aug 15, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    They’re done. Time for the trailer parks of Pittsburgh to go back to selling meth.

  11. metalhead65 - Aug 15, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    it must suck for them after getting within 2 of the REDS then finding themselves 6 back less than a week later. talk about the wildcard all you want but when left cincy after being beaten 2 out of 3 you were talking pretty tough for a second place team. nice that you don’t suck as bad as you have in recent years but you should not talk the talk unless you can walk it and looks like you can’t yet.

  12. stairwayto7 - Aug 15, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    6 games at home vs reds and 15 vs cubs and astros plus Melky Caberera suspended…wild card at least if not winning the central!

  13. cincyorangenblack - Aug 15, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    flash in the pan. Time for pittsburgh frontrunners to return to normalcy. That town only cares about their teams when they win. good riddance

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