Only one word comes to mind when watching the Pittsburgh Pirates play baseball lately: frustration.
The once-promising 2012 season has seen this team go only 24-31 after the All-Star break and win just two games so far during the month of September. That, coupled with the way the Bucs have been giving games away as of late should mean that this season is another lost one.
Right now this team can’t buy a hit with runners in scoring position, often has trouble pitching and throws the ball around as if they were in a Little League uniform, but remarkably this team still remains right in the thick of things to claim the final playoff spot in the National League.
That’s largely due in part to the fact that nobody else seems to want to make the playoffs either, as the final NL Wild Card spot is one that nobody seems to want.
The Pirates recent 5-14 stretch should have all but eliminated them from playoff contention, but the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers are doing their best to hand the Bucs a postseason berth. If only the Pirates would reach out and grab it.
Los Angeles is in the middle of a 7-12 stretch and the Cardinals, who lead the Bucs by 2.5 games, are in the middle of a 4-9 skid.
The collective struggles of the three teams have brought the Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers back into the mix as both teams have crept to within five games of the Cardinals.
Watching the Pirates play right now would leave you to believe that they have no chance, but the reality of the situation is that somehow manager Clint Hurdle’s team is remarkably still in the race.
However being there and doing something about it are two entirely different situations altogether.
For the Bucs, its simple: nothing before tonight’s game against the Cincinnati Reds matters. Forget about all the struggles and failures of the past month. The season comes down to three weeks of baseball. It’s time for the Pirates to look in the mirror and get the job done on the field.
It may be frustrating now, but the Bucs have three weeks to change their fortunes completely around.
We will see if they have what it takes, but that’s the great thing about baseball. It’s really never over until it’s over.