Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Not So Fast: Why 2013 Shouldn't Be Declared End of Pirates Streak Just Yet

Associated Press Photo
The big story through the first half of the season was the impressive play of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and how they may be in line for their first winning season since 1992.

Going into Sunday, the Pirates sat 20 games above .500 with the best record in the Majors.

Almost sounds like last year, doesn't it?

Heading into last year's All-Star break, the Pittsburgh Pirates sat on top the NL Central, 11 games above .500 with a substantial chance of finishing above .500, despite their 19-23 road record.

We remember what happened in the 2nd half.  An 11-17 August and a horrific 7-21 September returned the Pirates to their losing ways as they continued the streak for yet another year.

Will that collapse happen again this year?

Heading into play [Tuesday], the Pirates have lost three straight and are 2-5 for the month.  In their two wins, the Pirates had to survive a 9th inning scare from their cross-state rivals from Philadelphia, and the other was a 6-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

A lighter shade of the Bucs that won 9 straight to wrap up the month of June.

Their current three game losing streak has cost them the top record of the Majors as their in-division companion, the St. Louis Cardinals, have won three straight to take the top spot of the NL Central.  The Pirates are still in command of the Wild Card.  But there are plenty of hungry teams that would love to capitalize on a sinking ship, including the rising Dodgers.  The Nationals too, if they can get the kinks out of their system, because the Atlanta Braves sure look like they're going to run away with the NL East this year.

This isn't a blog to hope that the Pirates collapse, because it would be a good story to see a team that has been one of the rock-bottom franchises in the Majors for years to finally catapult themselves into an October appearance.  It's a blog to say... "Not so fast."

We, as in the media, shouldn't be overhyping these Pirates at this stage of the season.  If they are really going to make this 21 year streak walk the plank, we're going to witness it in September.  July's too early to celebrate good times in the city of three rivers, as there's a lot of baseball still to be played.

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