The Perplexing Pittsburgh Pirates Time Machine
By Tom Smith
The Pittsburgh Pirates brass seems content as the team flounders, now eight games under .500. The Pirates time machine front office still thinks it’s 2013 and are doing things to go as slowly as they can, praying that 2020 never comes as they ignore everything about the present. Speaking of which, back on Federal Street the team dropped another game under .500 on the 2014 season. The Pirates are an absolute mess after getting crushed 9-2 by the Baltimore Orioles at PNC Park. But little urgency about the situation is being shown.
The first three innings had been a struggle for the ball club all season, but Francisco Liriano punched up that 2013 time machine and looked like his old self in recording the first nine outs against the aggressive Orioles.
Oh what a joyous three inning ride it was!
The Pittsburgh Pirates Time Machine
But the time machine crashed in a rough fourth inning for the still winless starter. The Orioles erupted and suddenly it was back to the present day which isn’t a pleasant place. It’s the same story most nights–starting pitcher makes a mistake. Cue up the quote…his mistake got hit hard, that doesn’t always happen in the big leagues…or the team strands (insert double digit number here) runners. All in all, it was another loss with another likely circumstance as the main reason for the defeat.
The Pirates pitching staff that gave up so few homers back in 2013, are giving them away this season like they are shopping mall chicken samples this year.
Chris Davis hit an absolute bomb in the fifth inning off the still winless Frank the Tank. The Orioles slugger then went deep again in the seventh inning off Jared Hughes and then just for giggles did it again in the ninth against Jeanmar Gomez. Welcome Back #19. Davis had his party against the Bucs pitchers with five runs batted in and four hits on the night.
The Bucs look deflated. In the ninth inning, Pedro Alvarez glared at nothing in particular, vividly angry as he stood beside Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison. A couple seconds later JHay was seen smiling brightly in the dugout. The fact that Chris Stewart had just been drilled in the back was apparently missed by Cutch and JHay.
The team has little confidence. I mean that wasn’t Gio Gonzalez pitching for the Orioles.
The 2014 Francisco Liriano doesn’t trust his stuff and it showed last night after a couple Orioles knocks.
The 2014 Jeanmar Gomez doesn’t look like he will match his career year of 2013.
Jared Hughes got a one, two, three inning….and then Clint Hurdle sent him back to the mound. The magic that Hurdle had with the bullpen is gone. Or maybe the bullpen is simply ‘mortal’ as Neal Huntington said on his show Sunday. Either way, moves need made.
The answers to the Pirates struggles aren’t easy, but we think everyone knows that the current 25 man roster is simply not the best 25 players available. It’s a shame Bob Nutting, Frank Coonelly or Neal Huntington won’t pull the trigger on some improvements, because there absolutely is time to right the ship.
But since they weren’t interested in making improvements in the offseason, and please….. save your excuses–getting close, making low ball offers and not wanting to offer an additional contract year still add up to the same thing–this management team didn’t get it done.
May 20, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis (19) receives a high-five in the dugout after scoring a run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fourth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
So everyone is left sitting in a time machine that isn’t moving ahead to the future, but waiting on the past. What pisses most everyone off is that, few people expect any short term changes. It seems like the executives would consider that a knee jerk reaction. Instead, they simply wait for the poor pitching numbers to even out, the poor plate appearances to balance and the numbers to magically change to those magical 2013 numbers. We hate to crash the ride, but someone tell the gents on Federal Street that the club is 18-25 with Wandy Rodriguez starting today.
For the Bucs brass, it’s just not conceivable that their pitching staff isn’t going to get it done. So while a pitcher that could improve the rotation like Brandon Cumpton fires eight solid innings for AAA Indy, the Bucs brass expect their fans to stay buckled up in the time machine and watch southpaw Rodriguez make a start against a team that just put up nine runs with ease.
Please, someone let me off this ride.