Hey there boys’ and girls’ the Pittsburgh Pirates who I referred to on April 11, 2016 as the “slumber company” seem to have abruptly awakened, much to the chagrin much of the competition that they are scheduled to face. Armed with a .294 team batting average (which was leading MLB as of this past Sunday), it appears as if there are no sure outs anywhere in the Pirates batting order, well maybe except the pitcher.
Well, well, not so fast “Keemosabe” because when it comes to Pirates piching ace, Francisco Liriano, who is currently batting over .500, Senor Liriano cannot even be remotely considered an “automatic” out.
But that may not be enough.
The Pirates left Arizona with a 12-10 win in 13 innings but that victory does not bode well for the remainder of the road trip, especially considering the sometimes erratic pitching of Pittsburgh’s starting rotation.
The Pirates had a season-high 20 hits and led 8-3 after three innings after getting to Diamondbacks starter Robbie Ray. Arizona rallied by scoring twice in the eighth, and Paul Goldschmidt tied it in the ninth with a two-run homer, his second of the game. The Pirates batting order may be starting to jell, but is the starting pitching rotation headed in the opposite direction? The final game against the Diamondbacks because of Pittsburgh pitching was as we might say, “unnecessarily competitive.” Even the Pirates most reliable closer Mark Melancon, got smacked around allowing Paul Goldschmidt to go “yard” on him in the bottom of the ninth.
Now is not the time for any component of the Pirates to become “comatose,” pitching, hitting or defense. The overall balance is crucial because, the NL Central Division Chicago Cubs, nor the closely following St. Louis Cardinals or the Milwaukee Brewers are going to give Pittsburgh any breathing room.
If any of the Pirates competitors offers them a tank resembling an oxygen tank, rest assured it will be filled with “chloroform” not life preserving “O.”
In the first Conan the Barbarian movie, when Conan (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) was asked about getting some sleep, he responded; “time enough for sleep in the grave.” Allowing leads of sure victory to degrade to possible defeats is not a sign of greatness but may possibly be the compass that navigates those that seek excellence to the destination of mediocrity.
There is no time at the beginning or the conclusion of the 2016 season that the Pirates have time to be or get weary. The prize must be won now and celebrated later. There should be no need for last minute heroics or designated saviors. The 2016 Pittsburgh Pirates squad has the nucleus to be not just good, but great. However, greatness is not given but in most cases, greatness must almost always be earned.
There may sometimes be exceptions in cases when a reputation is inherited or inherent, genetically, environmentally or otherwise. The current Pittsburgh Pirates squad did not inherit anything from the 2006 Pirates team but the squalor and the misery of losing. The Pirates can only be motivated by themselves.
(The source for this article was espn.com)
Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: email@example.com or 412.583.6741
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