August, which wasn’t very kind to the Pirates, has come and gone. The final month of the season has begun. September is off to a disappointing start, however, as the Bucs dropped some tough games in Milwaukee. If they want to reach the postseason, they need to start playing better ball. With only 29 games remaining, it’s time to put up or shut up.
They entered the All-Star break with a record of 47-38, and looked forward to an easier schedule in the second half. The Pirates haven’t been able to beat weaker teams, and hold just a 22-26 record since the break. With the great success in the first half of the season, it’s been really frustrating to watch the past few weeks. It seems as if nothing has gone right. Andrew McCutchen was clocked by an Aroldis Chapman fastball a month ago; his batting average has dropped nearly 30 points since August 1. Neil Walker went down with injury (twice). An embarrassing 1-5 record vs. San Diego in August, including a sweep at Petco Park, and now the sweep at the House of Horrors, Miller Park.
The Bucs now sit 11 games out of first place and 1.5 games out of a wild card spot. Here’s a look at their schedule the rest of the way:
– 3 games vs. Houston
– 3 games vs. Chicago
– 3 games @ Cincinnati
– 4 games @ Chicago
– 3 games vs. Milwaukee
– 3 games @ Houston
– 4 games @ New York
– 3 games vs. Cincinnati
– 3 games vs. Atlanta
With Houston (41-93) and Chicago (51-82) coming to town, now’s a good time to turn it around. The Pirates seriously need to win at least five of these six games. They cannot afford to lose against these teams, especially at home. But as we’ve seen the last few weeks, nothing is guaranteed.
It’s a tough question to ask, but will the Bucs even win 82 games at this point? They have to go 12-17 to do so. Considering they’ve won 10 of their previous 29 contests, they need to step it up a bit. As everyone has said, a .500 season is obviously not the goal. However, they may limp to 82 with how they’ve performed as of late.
If the Pirates can play to their maximum potential, there’s still hope. The six games vs. Reds and three vs. Braves could drastically affect both the division and wild card. Meaningful September has been a long time coming. This is it; the time is now. “Get busy living or get busy dying.”