"How does a major league team even do that?"
That's the recurring question this year for fans and observers of the Pittsburgh Pirates. After a while,you realize you've been asking this question a lot: How does a major league team even do that?
Never mind the "corporate management" and front-office shenanigans, mendacity, duplicity, tomfoolery, chicanery, lousy talent evaluation and sheer incompetence -- that's another subject entirely.
We're talking on-field hijinks here, the kind that would make the Marx Borthers and Three Stooges proud.
Nearly every game, it seems, it's something else: baserunning gaffes (two men stuck on third base, for example); the fielding calamities (too innumerable to recount), the scratch-your-head-defensive shifts; the puzzling, pointless and futile roster moves (Dana Eveland, among others); the chronically abysmal starting pitching, the historically anemic offense -- it just goes on and on.
- How does a major league team lose a one-run game when a batted ball hits your baserunner to end the game?
- How does a major league team lose two games in one series by scores of 20-0 and 17-3?
- How does a major league team team lose 17 consecutive games on the road?
- How does a major league team get shut out nine times by July 10?
- How does a major league team go 2-13 in interleague play?
- How does a team lose a potentially game-sealing run because a batted ball ricocheted off an umpire?
- How does a major league team's starting third baseman (Andy LaRoche) have only 11 RBIs by mid-June?
- How does a team have one of its corner outfielders (Lastings Milledge) have only two home runs by mid-July?
- How does a team go 6-20 in June?
- How does a team commit more errors (four) in one game than the opponent, Oakland, scored runs (three) in yet another loss?
- How does a team have more errors (six) in a game than hits (five) in another loss (again to Oakland)?
- How does a team surrender 17 runs to an opponent (Texas) that also stranded 13 runners on base?
- And how does a team go more than a month -- spanning 30 games and 971 at-bats -- without hitting a home run with a runner on base?
Now, with last night's loss in Milwaukee, the Pirates have a five-game losing streak. Keeping in mind the Bucs have yet to win four games in a row all season, the Pirates since June 6 have had:
- a 12-game losing streak
- a six-game losing streak
- a five-game losing streak
Let's re-visit that for a moment: From June 6 through July 10, the Pirates have compiled losing streaks of 12, six and five games.
HOW DOES A MAJOR LEAGUE TEAM EVEN DO THAT?