Games are still being played, and so there is still baseball to watch, and recaps to be written, even of 7-1 losses to the Houston Astros. Jeff Locke struck out eight batters in five innings but continued his trend of making huge, honking mistake pitches that get crushed, leaving a pitch up for Jed Lowrie to blast a three-run homer in the first.
James McDonald relieved Locke in the sixth -- that's right, he came out of the bullpen -- and gave up a homer, an HBP, a triple and a walk, retiring no one before being replaced.
And that's really all you need to know. In fact, you didn't even need to know this much. In fact, you didn't really even need to know anything. Hands up, who read past the headline? If you read past the headline, leave a comment that says, "I read past the headline." Then everyone else can laugh at you. Except that if they got the joke, that means they read past the headline too. Suckers! Did you watch past the first inning of this one? Sucker!!!! When Garrett Jones finally homered in the eighth, were you still watching? Did you accept that as your reward for sitting through seven terrible and aggressively-irrelevant innings?
I could be writing about anything right now. Anything. Are you paying attention? Anything. The tax code. What I ate for dinner. Compound ternary form. Giant squid. Beets. Greco-Roman wrestling. Anything. For some reason, you are still paying attention. Are you an insomniac? Do you exhibit self-destructive tendencies? Are you Brett Wallace's mother? You are paying attention. Someone is paying attention. Some of you are not. Some of you are not. Some of you are scrolling right by this entry in the hopes of finding some awesome gossip about Kyle Stark and how he hunts babies, or hires black ops specialists to make Gerrit Cole jump out of a helicopter without a parachute. Kyle Stark is crazy!!! You, Pirates fan, are not crazy. You have watched the whole collapse. I check the BucsDugout.com site statistics. There are thousands of you. You keep tuning in, every single night. And yet you are sane, and Kyle Stark is completely nuts. You are paying attention.
Wait ... are you? Are you paying attention? I have an idea. Would you like to hear my idea? I will go to a mad libs website and enter the names of various players in tonight's game, and I will post the results in the next paragraph.
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Brian Bogusevic Alex Presley, Will you let me Justin Maxwell your Hisanori Takahashi? Ever since I have laid Clint Barmes on Jose Altuve, I have Chris Snyder madly in love with her. I wish that she will be the Michael McKenry of my Wilton Lopez and that someday we will Matt Dominguez happily ever after. I have a Brock Holt as a Rhiner Cruz that pays $Marwin Gonzalez each month. I promise to Xavier Cedeno Edgar Gonzalez with kindness and respect. Sincerely, Gaby Sanchez Matt Downs
Rhiner Cruz Brian Bogusevic Wilton Lopez Xavier Cedeno Mickey Storey. You wonder if I have made these names up. You then wonder if this game actually happened, and if Twitter and MLB.com and BucsDugout.com and ROOT Sports and the state of Texas and your boss and Steve Blass have all conspired to convince you this game actually existed, and that "Brandon Laird" is a real person. You consider the possibility that the last six weeks of baseball were also unreal, and that it is actually early October, and the Pirates are about to begin their first playoff series in two decades. And then you wonder if it was actually June and July that were unreal, and the Bucs are about to end a 105-loss season. You then wonder why your confusions are not grander, or at least more personal, and do not involve, say, sex, or your family, or your professional or spiritual lives. Your confusion deepens. You still do not think "Brandon Laird" is a real person. You check the standings. You kneel before the toilet, even though, late on a Friday night, you are stone-cold sober. You fall into bed, roll about, flip the pillow over. You briefly ponder the impending reality of a 20th straight losing season. You fall restlessly asleep. You will be back tomorrow. You are not sure why.