On Saturday August 13, 2016 a tractor trailer pulled up to Vin Scully Dr. The contents of the truck appeared to contain 30 or more pallets stacked with boxes labeled “new industrial strength whoopass-Raid,” pest exterminator.
Obviously it worked because the Dodgers caused the Pirates’ to leave 18 men on base twiddling their thumbs and after that scenario one could have assumed that the Buc’s chances of leaving “the city of angels” winning 2 out of 3 from L.A. were slim and none.
The Pirates had many “bugs loose on the rug,” as the late Pirates broadcaster Bob Prince might say; the supply of “whoopass-Raid” that the Dodgers had on hand was thought to be more than adequate in shutting down the Bucs for the rest of their visit.
What a difference 24 hours made because the Pirates smashed the “artful” Dodgers 11-3 the very next day and made it look easy. Pirates’ second baseman Josh Harrison had this to say. “It was a lot of fun to be in the dugout today. It was almost like a flip of yesterday when they got out to a little jump on us. You know, it was good to go out there in the first inning today and put pressure on them right away.”
Pittsburgh had a five-run outbreak in the first inning effectively salting the game away. The Pirates had too many bugs loose on the rug, in corners, crevices and an on the base paths and not enough cans of “WR” to go around for the Dodgers to take the deciding game of the series.
As of Monday August 15, 2016 the Pirates were 1.5 games out of claiming at least a tie in the NL wildcard race, after beating the Dodgers the team that currently occupies first place in the NL wildcard sweepstakes.
Had the Pirates capitalized on just a few of their ill-fated base runners they possibly would be only .5 of a game from the top NL wildcard spot.
For the remainder of August, the Pirates are at the Giants for a 3 game series, W-L (66-51) Home against the Marlins and the Astros for 6 games both teams 5 games and 4 games above .500 respectfully.
The Pirates travel to Milwaukee to face the Brewers for 4 games, although Milwaukee are Pirates’ killers they are 14 games under .500.
Pittsburgh finishes the month traveling to Wrigley to face the Cubs for 3 games.
Oh, by the way, the Cubs are 30 games over .500; not exactly a walk in the park for the rest of August.
My late and great mother, Henrietta Bruce used to say this when she was serious about anyone or anything,; “one thing for certain and two things for sure,” the Pirates had better run, pitch, hit, catch and throw like every game is a playoff game or like it’s “1999” because you know what? Every game is a playoff game when your division leader is 30 games over .500 and your teams’ only chance to advance to the 2016 MLB postseason is as a wildcard.
The Pirates cannot afford to jog past the graveyard, all the while whistling and pretending that the ghosts and disappointments of past failures don’t exist. The Pittsburgh Pirates have to become the gravediggers and discontinue being the corpses buried at the end of the MLB postseason.
Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: email@example.com or 412.583.6741
Follow him on Twitter@ultrascribe