As bad as the Pittsburgh Pirates have been since their last winning season in 1992 (and yes, they've been stinkeroo, compiling eighteen straight sadsack years), they've only lost 100 games once in that streak. On October 6th, 2001, the Pirates lost their 100th contest in game #161 of the year, manager Lloyd McClendon's first season with the team. Since that year, the franchise has lost at least 95 games five separate times and reached 99 losses just last year.
Moral of the story: the Pirates fans are used to this losing thing. The current squadron sits at the bottom of the NL Central with a 53-98 record; with eleven games remaining, the 100th loss seems all but inevitable. Yet this is a team that came off a four game sweep at the hands of the Mets a week ago fifty games under .500 - that's a 48-98 record - and they have promptly assembled five consecutive wins. They can see that 100th loss just down the road yet they are stomping on the brakes with all their might and power.
The source of that power? A whopping eight home runs over that five game span, including two each by rookie Neil Walker, John Bowker, and Walkoff Walk favorite Andrew McCutchen. Of course, the five consecutive wins have come at home, where the Pirates actually have a decent 38-39 record. It's the road where this team is truly in danger of reaching that sad milestone. The Pirates have won only 15 out of 74 games away from PNC Park. That's barely 20%. I haven't seen such a terrible performance on the road since I hitched that ride with Jim Leyritz.
And taking a peek at the Bucs remaining schedule reveals a wicked seven-game road trip to end the season. Sure, neither the Cardinals or the Marlins are daunting opponents, but there's something about waking up in a strange hotel room that doesn't sit well with the young Pirates team.
Will the Pirates do the unthinkable and finish off 2010 winning fifteen of their final sixteen games? Well they're five wins into it so far, but statistically, this is wildly improbable. Either way, Pirates fans can take solace in the fact that their shitty, terrible, miserable team managed to beat the shitty, terrible, miserable Cubs ten out of fifteen times.