Sunday, May 15, 2011

Divine Retribution for Randall Simon?

The Pirates' nightmare at Miller Park continues.

The Brewers own them, which is a phenomenal story in its own right, and one that bears closer scrutiny just for the astonishingly lopsided and extended reality of the fact. We'll get to that.

The Pirates woke up today in fourth place and sliding. Fast.

Nobody today should be talking about blown calls that possibly contributed to the loss yesterday, not with a final score of 8-2.

As noted here yesterday, the Pirates aren't hitting. That's an understatement. The Pirates offense is astoundingly inept.

The Pirates have lost four in a row, and this morning's Post-Gazette reports "the past four games, they have scored three, zero, two and two runs."

Hence, a four-game losing streak. The Bucs left 13 runners on base yesterday. Thirteen!

Leaky defense didn't help, either, nor did the aforementioned blown calls.

Symptoms of a flawed team that may be finding its level? Even manager Clint Hurdle said earlier in the week that they'd "somehow managed to find ways to win games," as if even he couldn't believe the team was hovering around .500.

The Brewers Own the Pirates
Now, about that lop-sided "rivalry" (wrong word) between the Brewers and Pirates ... we hate to use the "bee-yotch" word, but the Pirates are playing the part.

Look no further than the lead-in to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article yesterday about Friday night's game ...

In need of a shot in the arm, the Milwaukee Brewers couldn't have asked for a better opponent for their weekend series at Miller Park than the Pittsburgh Pirates.

It was Milwaukee's seventh straight home win over Pittsburgh and 31st in its last 34 games over the Pirates at home since 2007, an almost unfathomable winning percentage of .912. The Brewers are 49-17 (.742) in all games against the Pirates over that same span as well.

"Oh, it does," manager Ron Roenicke said when asked if the one-sided nature of the series gives his team an edge. "I don't know on their part, but I think any team you're on, when you have trouble with a team in your ballpark for whatever reason, you know."

This is getting more than a bit ridiculous, as in, "valid reason for ridicule."

Milwaukee's dominance over the Pirates must have baseball historians, geeks and stat-heads poring through the archives and databases at Stats Inc., the Baseball Encyclopedia, etc., to determine the historic significance of how dominant the Brewers have been over the Pirates in recent years.

It truly is ridiculous. And embarrassing.

The Pirates have lost 56 of 83 games in Miller Park, but it's gotten progressively worse in the past few years (3-32 since 2007). That is sustained. Embarrassing. Pitiful. Pathetic.

Perhaps this futility streak is divine retribution for Randall Simon?

The Pirates had better start winning in Milwaukee. To do that, they'd better start hitting.

As beat writer Colin Dunlap notes in today's Post-Gazette, Pedro Alvarez is 7 for his past 41 with 15 strikeouts, including two yesterday. Lyle Overbay is 7 for 30. Jose Tabata is 6 for 37. Of those three players -- regulars all -- Overbay has the highest batting average, at .231. Throw in continuing non-productivity from Andrew McCutchen (.234) and Ronny Cedeno (.222), and you are looking at five of eight regulars batting under .231.

Five of eight!

Has any team, ever, been so inept? Not to be confused with "Lumber 'n Lightning," that's for sure, or the Big Red Machine, or the 1927 Yankees.

All the feel-good sentiment just one week ago has evaporated. It feels like a whole new season. And the yearly June swoon looms forebodingly.

Kevin Correia had better be on top of his game this afternoon. Today is a good opportunity for him to establish himself as a "stopper" and a legitimate All-Star candidate (which he should be, anyway -- and too bad for him that the bullpen lost the lead in his most recent start).