Pirates – Talk about a June swoon

At the beginning of the year,  it was felt that the Dodgers would need to win the National League West division for an unprecedented fourth time in a row to get into the 2016 postseason.

On June 24, that collective wisdom seems wanting. The teams that were expected to push for the play-in game were the Mets, Cardinals, and Pirates. Right now the Pirates are in such a disarray they have to decide if they are sellers or buyers in the next few weeks.

The Dodgers play the Pirates four games, and this series could be instrumental in helping the Pirates decide which way they go. The Pirates entered June with a 29 – 22 mark and in the lead for the play-in game.   The Giants dismantled the Pirates this week giving the Pirates a  5 – 17  record in June pushing their overall record to  34 – 39. The Pirates now trail the Dodgers, Cardinals, Marlins, Mets, and even the Rockies for the two wild card spots.   The Pirates could still right the ship but it will have to happen soon, and playing the two hottest teams in back to back four-game series makes that task even tougher.   The second biggest problem for the Pirates is that the team has simply rolled over when they have played the Cub going 1 – 8 in head to head competition.

It is easy to see why the Pirates are in disarray, pitching pitching pitching.  And Andrew McCutcheon hitting like Chris Heisey.  The Pirates are near the bottom of just about every pitching category and it gets worse in June where they sit at the bottom.

I was wrong about this team, I felt they would compete with the Cubs, and at the very least be in the play-in game once again. The rotation was a concern, but with Taillon and Glasnow lurking, I felt they would join Cole/Liriano/Niese to form a decent enough rotation that would allow them to compete with the big boys. But when Cole went down and Liriano imploded the domino’s started falling, and they are still falling.

On Monday the Pirates inexplicably won 1 – 0 behind Jeff Locke who had given up eighteen runs in his prior two starts. That is not a misprint, eighteen runs. That was the last highlight for the Pirates as the Giants blew them out of the water the next three games. Crushing them in game two so much that the Pirates had to turn to their backup catcher Eric Kratz to finish the game on the mound. Kratz owns the dubious record of being a position player and pitching for two different teams in the same year. Kratz was the Houston back up catcher at the start of the year and also had to pitch for them in a blow out game on April 26th.  The best part of this story is that Kratz had hit the home run to win the game on Monday for the Pirates.  Talk about a weird two-game stretch for Kratz.

In game three they blew a six-run lead to lose 7 – 6. Game four they simply lost your basic 5 – 3 game.

The Giants were hot when they visited Pittsburgh, the Dodgers might be even hotter. I expect a brutal four games for the Pirates.

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