I am not trying to drink the Kool-Aid. I am not saying this team will contend.
What I am saying, even with a four game losing streak, there is still a few things to believe as promising.
Even with Maholm having a bad outing, he never should have started his last inning, Maholm still fought and had his team in a position to win when he was finally removed.
The night before, the Pirates battled back to tie the game at five before the bullpen imploded.
Snell pitched very well, being out dueled in Wednesdays game.
Duke has continued to shine.
The pitching staff still lead the NL in ERA at the end of April, a five pretty good teams in Pittsburgh Pirates history did the same. So there is some hope with the pitching staff.
There are plenty of reasons to think this staff has at least 3 legitimate pitchers at the top of the rotation.
Ohlendorf and Karstens, they have even looked good at time. They are both filling their roles in the rotation the way they should as forth and fifth starters. The way they have pitched, many teams would take that production from the 4 and 5 spots.
The Pirates offense has not been as outstanding the last 22 innings, but slumps can be expected on any team.
The best part of this 4 game skid...The Pirates are still at .500 on the season. As long as the team can get this skid under control, and soon, there is still plenty of reasons to think this team might break the streak. The key to breaking the streak, the pitching must maintain what they are doing.
The starting rotation needs to keep from pushing, thinking they need to go 7 or 8 innings scoreless. The only way that mind set is avoided...the offense needs to step it up and soon.
Jaramillo has stepped in nicely to fill the mitt behind the plate after Doumit went down with a wrist injury. He has hit better than expected and has provided a little better defense behind the dish. While Doumit's bat is missed, his glove has been more than adequately replaced.
Bixler has provided solid play at short with Jack Wilson on the DL. His bat has yet to fully translate to MLB levels, but his defense has been solid.
The loss of McLouth for 6 games did not help the offense. Morgan has continued to play well, when not getting picked off when on base.
The problem for the Pirates right now, they can't afford any more key injuries. The depth still is not where Huntington would like it to be. Luckily, the injuries have happened at positions where adequate players were waiting in the wings.
If the Pirates take a hit in the starting rotation, that could doom the team to that record breaking season of 17.
Brother In Arms:
I am formally retiring the Lil and Big LaWhiff titles. Both brothers are playing well. Andy has recovered from one of the ugliest starts of a season I have ever seen a player have. His glove has been solid and his bat has translated enough to show he is ready to be the everyday third baseman until a certain someone arrives.
Adam is being 2nd half Adam in the first half. If he can keep this up the whole season, he has a good shot at 35 HR's this season. A nice change for a lineup that hasn't had much pop since the early 90's.
The game thread may be up late again today. Too many things to do and I am still tweaking the new Netbook.