Diary of a long suffering Pirates fan: Games 20, 21 and 22: It's just a 6 game losing streak. Don't panic yet.

OK panic. Just remember, no matter how it turns out, there's still fireworks night. And how about those Greensboro Grasshoppers?
Boston Red Sox v Pittsburgh Pirates
Boston Red Sox v Pittsburgh Pirates / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

Can the Pirates play the Miami Marlins again? How about the White Sox? Are they on the schedule anytime soon?

Ok.  It’s not all bad.  Look at the bright side. The Pirates didn’t get shut out in the current losing streak.  And we’re still at .500. And all of the losses came against good teams.  These things happen.  The Texas Rangers had an 8-game losing streak last August in the midst of a pennant race, and they still won the World Series.  The Ranger’s 8-game losing streak didn’t derail their season.  And, like this year’s Pirates losing streak, the Rangers losing streak also came against good teams.  They lost successive games to the Twins, Diamondbacks, and Brewers, all of whom made the playoffs in 2023. So nothing to worry about yet for the Pirates. We’re still just four games out of first. We just need to play a bad team or two to get back on track.  Who’s the next opponent?

 The Milwaukee Brewers?  The Milwaukee Brewers with the best record in baseball?  That Milwaukee?  For a four-game series, no less?  Complete with a Thursday afternoon Getaway Day?   Oh, God help us.  The losing streak might reach 10 games.

The Pirates got swept for the second series in a row by the Boston Red Sox.  In the series, the Pirates were outscored 18-4. 

For the series, Pirates batters were a collective 1 for 20 with runners in scoring position and they stranded a total of 19 runners on base.  I guess the good news is that we at least created some traffic on the bases. 

Is this going to be the same old Pirates?  We set them up, and then don’t knock them home?  Or did we just run into a buzzsaw of superior pitching?  Probably a little of both.

In the Mets series it was the Mets bullpen that mowed down the Pirates. 

In the Red Sox series, it was both the bullpen and the starting pitching that flummoxed the Pirates.  But at least we got some foot traffic on the bases against the Red Sox.  Against the Mets bullpen, the Pirates managed just one hit.

Of course, as I watched these losses unfold, I was made to wonder what happened to all those home runs that the Pirates hit in spring training.  Where have they gone to? What happened to all those runs we scored against the Marlins and the Nationals?  Where have they gone? Surely, the Pirates have it within them to make those runs happen again. It's not like the roster changed or the player's abilities changed when the Nationals left town. It's in there somewhere. They'll get it back. Right?

In the meantime, when things are going tough for the Pirates, I can always go to plan B and look to the Pirates’ minor leagues for baseball salvation.  If I recall correctly, the Pirates have the 9th best minor league system as ranked by MLB Pipeline.  So surely things must be going well down on the farm, team-wise.  Right?  Well, let’s see.

First up.  The Bradenton Marauders.  3 wins 12 losses.  In last place.  Last in batting average.  Last in runs scored.  Last in OPS.  Last in home runs allowed.  2nd to last in team E.R.A.  They’re the Chicago White Sox of the Florida State League.  OK.  So not so good there.  Hopefully, MLB Pipeline is paying no attention to the Marauder’s performance this year. They’re low A anyway. 

How about the Altoona Curve?  They have Bubba Chandler and Anthony Solometo. Surely, they’re doing well. 5 wins 9 losses.  In last place.  2nd to last in hitting and last in team e.r.a.  OK.  So not so good there either (Although Chandler is doing well). Probably not wise to order those Altoona Curve Eastern League champions shirts just yet.

OK, well, then how about at AAA, where the Pirates franchise has not won a triple AAA championship since 1959?  Maybe this will be the year?  Indianapolis has a record of 11 wins and 10 losses.  Ok.  That’s not bad.  Especially, compared to the other two minor league teams, anyway.  Fourth place in a ten-team division.  And they’re only 2.5 games out of first.  They’re still within striking distance.  We should still keep an eye out on the Indianapolis Indians.  Maybe they will have a run in them yet.

Finally, we turn to the Greensboro Grasshoppers, the Pirates affiliate in the High A South Atlantic League.  The Grasshoppers check in at 9 wins and 5 losses. They are in second place in their division, only 1.5 games out of first.  They are 3rd in runs scored, 2nd in home runs, and 2nd in team E.R.A.  Now this is something we can sink our teeth into. The Grasshoppers are definitely a team to keep watching.  A team that if kept together might make a championship run. 9 and 5.  That’s what I’m talking about.  Pennant race baby. 

Who amongst us won’t be glued to their internet screens watching the season-long race between the Wilmington Something or Others and the Greensboro Grasshoppers?  And hey, this is the summer that cicadas will be invading the U.S. Cicadas and grasshoppers are sort of the same thing. So, the cicadas emerging this summer is a sign. A sign that this is going to be the Grasshopper's year.

So anyway, that’s a look at the Pittsburgh Piratees minor league teams so far this season. 

But the Pirates start a four-game series tomorrow with the first place Brewers.  It’s Jared Jones starting tomorrow, so it is must-see TV.  Hopefully, the Pirates can stop the bleeding and get a couple of wins under their belt in this series. If they can win against Milwaukee, it could restore hope within the fan base, whose belief in this team has taken a major hit this past week.

If the Brewers continue to dominate the Pirates the way they usually do, then there are always fireworks night and bobblehead giveaways to look forward to. And, for those who want a Plan B, the Greensboro Grasshoppers and the Indianapolis Indians are still in it.