I have been pretty optimistic on this season for quite a while now, but my patience is running really thin with a few things. First, I just can't believe why Barajas continues to get so much playing time. I mean the guy clearly can't hit or throw anyone out, period. It's gotten to the point where I feel like I'm watching a Little League game, maybe if runners were not allowed to lead and could only take off when the ball crossed the plate, we might have a chance. The Fort isn't much better, but at least he can hit somewhat. I am just really dumbfounded that at the trade deadline getting a AAA catcher with some kind of defensive potential wasn't a top priority. Who knows maybe it was, but either way they didn't get it done.
Another big weakness on this team is OBP. They have been trying to find a leadoff guy all year. Tabata and Presley have not done well there. Marte going down really hurt. Now they are trying Brock. The Bucs rank 28th with a .304 OBP, just ahead of the Cubs, .299, and Stros, .303, and we all know where those teams are in the standings. Teams like the Nationals have leadoff guys like Werth, .396, Atlanta, Bourne, .353, Cards, Jay .393.
I guess what has kept the Pirates in this race for so long has been pitching, home run power, and Cutch. Just think of the starting pitching from April. Morton goes down for the year. Karstens has been on the DL half the season. Bedard is ineffective and gets released. Jmac is a no show after the All Star break. The bullpen has been solid and you can't blame them for fading a bit down the stretch being forced to work more due to lousy early exits by starting pitching. Cutch has come down to earth in what has been a very strange season for him. He didn't hit for power at all during the first 30 games of the year, then went mental, and now has gone backward again, hitting just .241 with just six extra base hits in his last 30 games, and it's not like he has a crappy hitter hitting behind him, Jones has been very solid.
So despite it all, with 28 games left the Bucs are 2.5 games behind the Cards and Dodgers. This has been a weird year for baseball, I don't think many people saw the Pirates this close in September, or the A's or Orioles for that matter. Alot has to happen for the Bucs to stay in the race and win it. Everyone has got to contribute. Walker and Marte have to get back fast. The young pitchers like Locke, Wilson and McPherson have to step up. Cutch has got to go back to having fun and get more aggressive. Teams have figured out that pitching around him is the right approach, because despite his speed he really isn't a very good base stealer. So stop looking for the one down the middle and just go with the pitch. Pedro has just got to keep being Pedro. The Hammer and Grilli have got to shut em down.
In closing I don't give a crap about the losing streak. Some people here are starting to worry about not even finishing .500 again. If that's the main goal I think that sucks. The Bucs have already had a great season, including the minors which have seen alot of guys do well and move up. PNC has had alot of sellout crowds and alot of fans have great memories with their kids and friends, I being one of them. Going forward for the next 28 games, it's Wildcard or Bust for me!
This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editor (Charlie) or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.