Welcome to the Pittsburgh Pirates Wake-Up Call, a daily feature here at RumBunter.com. Every morning at 9 AM, one of us will give you our random thoughts on the goings-on around the Pirates’ organization, and we’ll throw out a few links to some good Pirates-related items from around the web.
The Pirates keep stacking wins
One key difference between the 2014 Pittsburgh Pirates and this year’s version is this: the current squad has a much better ability to stack wins. After a 13-5 stretch against some tough opponents, the club started a string of games against lighter opposition by handling their business against a hapless Miami Marlins team. It was the team’s third win in a row.
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The 2014 Pirates’ longest winning streak was five games while their longest losing streak was seven games. Those figures have flipped this year, with the Pirates having enjoyed an eight-game winning streak, with five straight losses back in early May serving as the low-water mark for consecutive losses. Perhaps it’s not fair to compare teams year-to-year as they are considerably different, but the point is this: the Pittsburgh Pirates know how to stack wins. Since those five consecutive losses in May, the Pirates have not lost more than three games in a row at any point this year. Contrast that against several streaks of 3-4 consecutive wins here and there, and you can easily see why the team has 75 wins.
The 162 game Baseball season lends itself to a legitimate team nickel-and-diming its way to a high amount of wins. And the Pirates are doing just that.
His name is Gregory
Gregory Polanco had a game to remember last night, going 4-for-5 with an RBI. It’s another great game in August for Polanco, who leads the team in batting average for the month. It has been an outstanding summer for Polanco, who has now brought his average all the way up to .267.
What most impresses me about Polanco this season is his strikeout rate. Striking out only 18.7% of the time in 2015 (20% is league average), El Coffee has shown great patience for a player who – lest we forget – is only in his first full year in the major leagues. He is now firmly entrenched in the leadoff spot, and please feel free to put me in the camp that thinks he should stay there indefinitely and indiscriminately, with all apologies to Josh Harrison. Last year we saw the top of the order in Polanco, Starling Marte, and Andrew McCutchen tease us with the potential of that configuration, and now they are delivering on that promise.
Pirates talk on the web
This is by far the coolest thing I’ve seen in awhile. The Post-Gazette put out a very fun, very interactive infographic of the Pittsburgh Pirates season-to-date. Please do check it out, but be warned: it is a black hole that will suck you in.
Finally, take a look at this side by side comparison of McCutchen to that other Pirate great Roberto Clemente through their first 1,000 games: