Archive for August 13th, 2006

13
Aug
06

The last shall be first: Pirates sweep Cardinals

An interesting reversal of sorts occurred over the last three days at PNC Park where the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals were swept in three games by the last place Pittsburgh Pirates. If any person with no prior knowledge of the teams’ records were asked to guess which team was first in the division and which was last from watching these three games, he would conclude that the Pirates must be the first place team, as they completely manhandled the Cardinals, defeating them by scores of 7-1, 3-2, and 7-0. While the middle game appears to be less of a rout, the Pirates outhit the Cardinals in that game 11-5.

It was so refreshing to see everything come together for the Pirates. Their starting pitching was good, their bullpen was good, their defense was good, their offense was good. Everything came together for them during this series. They could still use some work on converting hits into runs, as they failed to take advantage of some scoring opportunities – particularly in the middle game – that would have made their wins a little more decisive. That said, a series sweep is a series sweep and this sweep could scarcely have been more decisive.

Looking ahead, tomorrow the Pirates take on the Milwaukee Brewers, whom they swept in 4 games at the end of May. They’re up against Dave Bush, who provided one disastrous inning of relief the last time the teams met, to give the Pirates 5 runs and a victory in both the game and the series.  I hope the Pirates can stay on their roll of excellent play.

Since I wrote the entry about avoiding 100 losses, the Pirates have won both games they’ve played. This led me to wonder what they would have to do in order to end the season at or above .500. Their record is currently 45-73. Going .500 in a 162 game season involves winning 81 and losing 81. Thus, if the Pirates want to finish the season at or above .500, they can lose at most 8 games between now and October 1st. Or, stated differently, they must win 36 out of their remaining 44 games, for a win percentage of .818. This doesn’t seem all that likely, I have to admit.

Pursuing an even more unlikely scenario, assuming that the Pirates don’t lose another game all season, they will finish the season with a record of 89-73 for a win percentage of .549. With that record and the Cardinals’ recent struggles, the Pirates would likely win the division. This obviously isn’t going to happen, but it’s nice to dream.




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