At the end of April the Pittsburgh Pirates owned the best record in the National League and were the biggest buzz in all of baseball. Since then, they have become a total and complete afterthought.
During the month of April the Pittsburgh Pirates were all the buzz of Major League Baseball. The Pirates raced out to a 20-8 record. Despite a loss in their final game of the month, the Pirates still finish April with a National League best 20-9 record.
During this stretch the team was hitting the ball well. The starting rotation was pitching extremely well and the bullpen had been even better. Through the first month of the season it appeared the Pirates could be on their way to a special season.
Well, things have certainly taken a turn for the worse.
In the 12 weeks since their 20-8 start the Pirates are 21-45. 21-45. A .318 winning percentage, that's a 51-111 pace. Brutal. Awful. Terrible. Atrocious. All of those adjectives apply to how the Pirates have played the past 12 weeks.
If the Pirates continue with their .318 winning percentage over the course of the team's final 68 games of the season they will finish 62-100. Despite owning the best record in the NL through the month of April, a third consecutive 100 loss season is still on the table for the Pirates.
Right now there appears to be very little reason to expect this misery to end any time soon.
This team's pitching staff is a total and complete mess. The bullpen has essentially become Dauri Moreta, David Bednar, and pray. Outside of Mitch Keller, the starting rotation has found zero consistency during this stretch.
With Osvaldo Bido struggling in the starting rotation, Quinn Priester getting shelled in his MLB debut, and Rich Hill likely to be dealt by the end of the month, the starting rotation question marks are going away. Oh, don't forget Roansy Contreras imploding to the point he's been demoted to the FCL and Luis Ortiz taking a massive step backward from last season.
This lineup can't score. Jack Suwinski is too streaky. Bryan Reynolds is having a very poor season for his standards. The Pirates have finally just now decided to give the catcher position a chance of providing offense, and the middle infield has been a dumpster fire without Oneil Cruz.
At this point, the Pirates have once again become all about the future. Not the present, the future. A frequent problem the last 30+ years. The problem has always been that too often that future never comes.
By the end of the month the team will sell off every and any veteran with trade value not named Andrew McCutchen. Rich Hill and Carlos Santana are slam dunks to be traded. If they have any trade valeu Ji Man Choi and Austin Hedges will be traded as well. Connor Joe could be traded as well, and do not rule out a Bednar trade.
Being more concerned with what players you will sell in late July instead of winning baseball games? Afterthought type of stuff.
Over the years the Pirates have had some pretty terrible implosions and meltdowns. However, the best record in the NL at the end of April to a third straight potential 100 loss season may take the cake. Again, they've become an afterthought.