…some BAD NEWS.
Some address what’s happening to the Pirates as a collapse. The more optimistic refer to it as a slump.
Either way, it could have some permanent implications.
The lowest win total posted by a team claiming an MLB wild-card berth is 88 (Baltimore, 1996; Los Angeles Dodgers, 2006; St. Louis, 2012). The Pirates are on pace to win 82 games. To get to 88 victories, they must go 24-12 over the remainder of the season.
Do the Pirates look like a team ready to do that?
The Pirates have lost seven straight, nine of 11, and 11 of 16. They have committed nine errors over their current seven-game losing streak.
One beacon of hope shines brightly from the recent past: St. Louis went 83-78 in 2006, but captured the NL Central and went on to win the World Series.
Tonight vs. Atlanta at PNC feels crucial: Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker are both back, and Gerrit Cole is pitching. The “long season” is suddenly very short. If a Pirates’ comeback doesn’t start soon, any comeback might not be enough.
Atlanta, among the Pirates’ primary competition for a wild card, visits Cincinnati next. The Braves have won five straight, and six of seven. The Reds have lost seven of eight, and nine of 11. The Pirates visit division-leading Milwaukee. The Pirates are 13-52 at Miller Park since 2007, including 1-5 this season. Overall, the Pirates are 3-10 against the Brewers in 2014.