Raise the Jolly Roger x 2

Today the Pirates began a series of 4 games against the Cincinnati Reds.  The series was kicked off with a “twi-night” doubleheader, the first game of which was a make-up for the August 5th game, which was postponed due to rain.  Both the Pirates and the Reds had been doing well coming into today’s games.  The Pirates had won their last three series and 7 out of their last 10 games.  However, the Reds were riding a 6-game winning streak coming into today’s games.  I knew that one team would have to falter and I was nervous that it was going to be the Pirates.  Fortunately, the Pirates put my fears to rest by winning the first game 6-4, due, in no small part, to Freddy Sanchez’ first career grand slam.  They followed up their victory with another victory, beating the Reds 3-2 in the second game.

With their two victories tonight, the Pirates advance to 59-72 (.450).  This lifts them out of last place in the NL Central, putting them a game and a half ahead of Houston.  In addition, it puts them only half a game behind Cincinnati.  A win in tomorrow’s game would move them to fourth place in the NL Central.  For those of you paying attention, if the Pirates are to post a winning season, they must win 23 of their remaining 31 games – which allows them only 8 losses for the rest of the season.  This is unlikely, but not impossible.  Afterall, they are 8-2 in their last 10 games…

Finally, those of you who might be frustrated by what looks like another disappointing season should consider the following: last year on this date, the Pirates had a record of 51-81 (.386), which meant that a winning season was already impossible.  In addition, they were a whopping 19.5 games behind first place.  This year, they’re at 59-72 (.450) and they’re only 8.5 games behind first place.  I’m not saying that they’re going to win the division, but they could.  Don’t forget that the Padres won the NL West in 2005 with a record of 82-80, the worst possible winning record and the worst record ever by a team that made it into the postseason.  So, while the Pirates aren’t doing quite as well as we might like, they’re definitely moving in the right direction.

PS: Interestingly, tonight the Pirates tied the franchise record for most home runs hit by the team in any calendar month.  The record has stood at 43 since August of 1947 and, since there are still 3 more games left in August, it stands a good chance of being broken by the 2007 squad.

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August 2007

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