Diary of a long suffering Pirates' fan: Game #2: Winning is fun. So are small sample size statistics.

Pirates are on pace to shatter all kinds of MLB records.
Pittsburgh Pirates v Miami Marlins
Pittsburgh Pirates v Miami Marlins / Brennan Asplen/GettyImages

Shortly after Josh Fleming recorded the final out in the Pirates' 7-2 victory over the Marlins, I texted my friends to again overzealously inform them that the Pirates were going to the World Series this year. This solicited the usual wisecracking remarks of, "What are you smoking?" and, "The only way that they're going to the World Series is if they buy tickets."

Admittedly, my optimism may be a wee bit premature, because truly, one cannot predict the outcome of a team's baseball season based on only two games.

Especially when the team that the Pirates beat—the Marlins—are playing like, well, the Pirates circa 2009-2010 or 2020-2022. Oh, just plug in any Pirates losing season you want here. There are plenty to choose from, including the last five years. Or if you prefer, just pick your favorite losing year from the 20-year losing streak. It's all good.

But as I have watched the last two games play out, it occurs to me that it is the Marlins that are playing like the Pirates. On Opening Day, the Marlins starting pitching was good, but the bullpen was bad. In yesterday's game, both the bullpen and the starting pitching was bad.

Over the course of the series, thus far, Marlins' pitchers have walked 15 Pirates and given up 13 runs. Their hitters have gone 5-for-26 with runners in scoring position and have stranded 18 runners. In the opener, the Marlins had the winning or tying runs in scoring position in the 10th, 11th and 12th innings with less than two outs and failed to score those runs.

Who plays like that? Well, usually the Pirates.

And so part of me wants to celebrate these two victories and revel in the fact that the Pirates, two games into the season, find themselves in first place. But the more reasonable part of me recognizes that the 2024 edition of the Marlins is probably not a good team. The Marlins made the playoffs last year. And their manager, Skip Schumaker, won Manager of the Year. But with Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Sandy Alcantara out for the season, and their best power hitter, Jorge Soler, lost to free agency, the Marlins look like a shell of their former selves and will likely be hard-pressed to make it back to the playoffs.

But good teams make a habit of beating bad teams. Good teams refer to this as "taking care of business." And so like a good team, the Pirates are taking care of business against these Marlins. And along the way, one can have some fun with the small sample size of statistics that have resulted from these two games. And I'm not referring to the obligatory "they're on pace to win 162 games" nonsense. Of course that won't happen. However, some more interesting lopsided statistics were found in these two games. So let's have some fun with small sample size statistics.

1. The Pirates have struck out a total of 28 times in the two games. An average of 14 strikeouts per game. If they maintain that pace over a 162 game schedule they will end up striking out 2,268 times, which will far and away break the record of the 2023 Minnesota Twins who struck out 1,654 times.

2. This one is my favorite. The Pirates have turned seven double plays in these two games, or 3.5 double plays per game. If they maintain that pace through the 162-game schedule, they will end up turning 567 double plays through the course of the season, which would shatter the MLB record of 217 double plays in a season set by the 1949 Philadelphia Athletics.

3. Jared Triolo has been involved in each of the seven double plays thus far. So he, too, is on pace to turn 567 double plays which would shatter the record of 161 double plays turned in a season by none other than Bill Mazeroski.

4. The Pirates have walked 15 times in these two games, for an average of 7.5 walks per game. If they maintain that pace, they will walk a total of 1,215 times this year. The MLB record for most walks in a season is held by the 1949 Boston Red Sox, who drew 835 bases on balls.

5. How about the obligatory small sample batting statistics to wow you? First up, K'Bryan Hayes. He has a .571 batting average, an on-base percentage of .636, and an OPS of 1.493. Certainly this is sustainable through the remainder of the year.

6. Better yet, let's look at Edward Oliveres. He is batting .667 with an on-base percentage of .750 and an OPS of 2.417. If he keeps that up, he'll make us forget Joshua Palacios.

7. Not all the statistics are good. Andrew McCutchen is batting .000, having not gotten a hit in the first two games while striking out five times.

8. But the most bizarre numbers come from the Pirates minor league affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians. The Indians had their opener yesterday and it did not go well for two pitchers. Colin Holderman, in Indianapolis on a rehab assignment, was tagged for three runs in two-thirds of an inning, making his ERA a robust 40.50.

9. But if you think that's bad, you should see fellow Indianapolis Indian pitcher Kade McClure. He was a minor league free agent signing of the Pirates over the offseason. He was the losing pitcher for Indy in that opener, surrendering five runs in just a third of an inning. That brings his ERA to 135.00. Had he not recorded that one out, his ERA would be infinity.

10. Martin Perez has an odd stat line following his work in yesterday's game. In 4.1 innings, he gave up six hits and walked three, yet somehow only gave up one run. His ERA is thus a very respectable 2.08. However, his WHIP is a very unrespectable 2.08. A 2.08 WHIP maintained throughout a season will usually get a pitcher DFA'd. For comparison, Mitch Keller gave up five runs in the opener, but his WHIP is 1.59.

11. Finally, we again turn to Jared Triolo. Not only is he on pace to shatter the MLB double play record, but he is also on pace to shatter the record for game winning RBI's. He is credited with the game winning RBI in both of these victories. And he has somehow accomplished this while batting a very meager .111.

So the Pirates are 2-0...

They are in first place for another day. And they have some very interesting and lopsided statistics to show for it. Are we enjoying the baseball season yet?