The question is are these the same sexy Pittsburgh Pirates the city fell in love with a few months ago? We know, it’s a deep question. Let’s just say the relationship with the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates is a hard habit to break. If the 2013 Pirates were really a relationship, it would be that one that happened so quickly it didn’t even really seem true. You know, that wild fling you just can’t erase from your mind. We know it was really good, and we just want it back again.
We bought our season tickets this year knowing it was nearly impossible for the Pittsburgh Pirates to match what they did in that magical 2013 season. The Pirates said “The Blackout was just the beginning.” What a tease.
We felt bad not going to Opening Day, really bad. We feel even worse for not bothering to attend even one game this season. Maybe we don’t want to erase that memory of all those good times. It’s hard to watch the 2014 Pirates right now. The team has lost five series in a row. The warts are showing and we can’t reach the damn light switch.
Starling Marte put up a .327/.395/.477 last April. Sure he struck out 26 times but we kept the light off.
Andrew McCutchen had his worst April of his career. But we didn’t look too close.
Pedro Alvarez was really bad last year, in fact his OPS was over 100 points lower than what he’s put up this year. But we hid our head in the pillow of wins.
As bad as Clint Barmes was last April–442 OPS, Jordy Mercer has been worse this April with a .404 OPS. Mercer has one extra base hit.
Russell Martin had a .710 OPS before going on the DL. Last April Martin was the new guy on the block and he had his best offensive month of the year–blasting six bombs and a .904 OPS.
Tony Sanchez had that awful throw in the heart breaking Brewers loss, but has also provided timely hits, leads the club in hitting and has patched together an eight game hitting streak thanks to an infield single today.
Gaby Sanchez has made his nine hits count with three doubles and three homers this year. The .785 OPS isn’t great, especially when last April was the best month of production for Gaby with four homers and an .884 OPS.
Ike Davis came over and got at least one hit in his first three games including a big grand slam. He hasn’t had a hit since, covering six games.
The Pirates needed to improve in right field after breaking up with Marlon Byrd. That hasn’t happened yet. Jose Tabata has an empty .262 average, but just a .613 OPS, it was even worse last April in limited action.
Travis Snider had his best month last season during April when he posted a .799 OPS. This year has started poorly, but he does have three homers, a black eye from a sucker punch and well…not much else other than those 14 strikeouts.
Neil Walker has become one of the toughest players in the game to strike out, but his BABIP is killing him. So far Walker has six homers against just one last year at this time.
The real difference seems to be just how well the Bucs pitching was. We had to look twice, but the team ERA was higher last year after 27 games than this years 3.65, but the 2013 pitching staff tossed five shutouts last year after 27 games. Thanks to A.J. Burnett the strikeout was a big shiny weapon last year–209 K’s through 27 games, versus 177 K’s through 26 games this year.
So after all of that, maybe these Pirates aren’t really that bad, their just really bad when compared to what our expectations were. We were looking for that magical team that found ways to win as they tore through the first half of the 2013 season.
Unfortunately, as we all sorta felt this year isn’t the same. It’s impossible to match 2013. We just need to let it go, but like a bad break up, we can’t just yet. But I digress.
The 2014 team has stranded a third world country on the base paths. That’s not really new. The team struggles to hit, that’s not really new. The 2014 team has sucked on defense. That’s new. Jason Grilli has blown saves and the bullpen has come back to planet earth. That’s new.
It’s not a real big difference, but it’s just enough to notice. Just enough so we can’t look away. All of those tight games that were won a year ago, are now being lost thanks to poor defense, streaky/broke/unfocused offense and that damn leaky shark tank.
So let’s just say point to those factors, maybe a combination of those factors, or perhaps just some bad luck, the Pirates only have ten wins. The tight games that were locked up last year when the pitching was better and the defense was tight got the team to a 15-12 record.
This year putting up less than two runs isn’t cutting it, even though it worked at times last April. Maybe we need counseling? It’s just…well, your sexiness seems gone? I’m sorry. It’s not you. It’s me. Gotta be me. Someday very soon, we won’t keep comparing YOU to HER.
Heh, how bout this… maybe we will come see you soon? If you can get those warts fixed…