Since August 14, the Pirates have won four in a row, lost four in a row, won four in a row, lost eight in a row, then won the last two before dropping this game to the Reds. To say this season has been streaky would be like calling the iPhone 7 the best phone on the market – It’s a fact!
Pittsburgh has essentially been in the Wild Card hunt for all of the season, but was constantly looking at it from the outside trying to gain ground. After the last eight game loss streak you could essentially say they blew their chances of any playoff hopes. Still, there exists a possibility that they could get hot and make a run against these mediocre N.L teams that don’t seem to be trying to lock it up either. After defeating the Cardinals in their last game of the series and then beginning the Reds series with a win, the possibility started to heat up again.
Unfortunately, this team just proved to us again that they’re not ready for the playoff’s this year. It has nothing to do with heart though no matter what some random tinder might tell you. This team has come back from behind on multiple occasions to gain a lead and did so again last night. After being down 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2, Pittsburgh came out and took the lead from the Reds in hopes of pulling out another victory.
The real issue comes down to play. This team just isn’t playing well enough on all fronts every single game to secure a playoff spot. Time and time it is brought up about how well Cutch is playing since that Atlanta series. Well, it still holds true that he’s been more productive. Starling Marte has really broke out this year. Jung Ho Kang has returned with a vengeance batting .438/.526/.1.063 in 19 plate appearances which includes three home runs and seven RBI’s. Josh Harrison is batting .321/.345/.409 since the beginning of August. Even Francisco Cervelli is batting .284/.422/.346 since August 1 as he was scrutinized by many people when the Pirates locked him up to a three year deal as written here –Mi Amore – Francisco Cervelli!
Heck, you can look at the rotation being settled in with the addition of Ivan Nova and the emergence of Jameson Taillon stepping up the second half of the season. Felipe Rivero has been superb since coming over in the Mark Melancon deal. Rivero has pitched 18.1 innings of 1.47 ERA with 28 strikeouts.
The issue comes down to the inconsistency of the play of each and every one of these players and the team as a whole and costly mishaps. Last night’s game was a perfect example of it again. Josh Harrison, Gregory Polanco, and Jordy Mercer each had multiples hits in big situations that helped the Pirates secure the lead. Though, Polanco was picked off by a bonehead mental error at second and Jung Ho Kang was also picked off at first.
Steve Brault pitched a solid game as he lasted 5 innings allowing two runs on five hits and two walks. It was enough to give the Pirates a chance to win. Unfortunately, Jared Hughes came in for relief and allowed a home run to Brandon Phillips that gave the Reds a 3-2 lead. After Andrew McCutchen tying the game in the 8th with a sac fly, Tony Watson entered the game in a non save situation. As you can see where this article is heading, Watson gave the lead away on 2 hits. Once again, the Pirates were just not good enough or consistent enough to earn the victory in last night’s game and lose by a 4-3 score.
Today, with virtually all playoff hopes diminished, Drew Hutchison will get his first start for his new team. He will face Robert Stephenson of the Reds. The game’s start time is set to begin at 7:05.