Once, just once, it would be really enjoyable to have anything related to the Pirates work out the way it's supposed to. It happened for the lousy Washington Nationals last week with the debut of Stephen Strasburg, which saw the rookie strike out 14 in front of a rocking full house, so it's not completely impossible. But after nights like tonight, you've got to wonder if it is, in fact, impossible.
What happened on Wednesday night for the Pirates was roughly two years in the making, a day Bucco fans have dreamed of for a long time. It was the debut of Pedro Alvarez, "future of the franchise" and "best prospect since Barry Bonds" rolled into one. Was it a storybook night, just like the Nats experienced with Strasburg? Come on...baseball doesn't author storybooks in Pittsburgh anymore.
In typical Pirate fashion, they botched his call-up, announcing it late on Tuesday night and killing any momentum they could've generated had they announced it further in advance. As a result, the attendance was 15,218, just 39.7% of capacity. Of course, the attendance number could also be blamed on the fact that the team is in the midst of Consecutive Losing Season XVIII and a nine-game losing streak. But that all plays into the atmosphere that seems to permeate around anything that comes in contact with this franchise.
By night's end, the Pirates had more errors (6) than hits (5), Zach Duke gave up five runs in 5 2/3 innings, with defense behind him that would make the Cleveland Browns blush, and Bobby Crosby, their latest end-of-the-line free agent import, contributed two errors, which goes along nicely with his .224 average. Even Alvarez got into the act in the ninth inning on a rare double error by the Pirates, which is pretty much the definition of baseball embarrassment.
All that adds up to a 7-2 loss, which is 10 Ls in a row for Team Nutting, and their third double-digit losing streak in 42 years (the 2006 team had a 13-game streak under Jim Tracy and the 2008 team lost 10 straight under John Russell). Even scarier, Pirate starters have won one time in their past 26 games - and the last pitcher they beat was Roy Halladay, as if that makes any sense.
I know, I know...it's just one night, Alvarez had some good at-bats, and Jose Tabata did hit a home run to represent the newbies. I haven't lost track of the big picture. But like I said, it would be nice to have a reminder every once in a while of how much fun a night at the ballpark really can be, not just a pipe dream of what it might be someday.
I said last week that the interleague portion of the schedule usually coincides with a Pirate nosedive, and this year is no different, as they lug an 0-5 interlegue record into their final game with the Sox on Thursday night. The 23-42 Buccos will throw winless Ross Ohlendorf at the wall and hope he sticks against Jake Peavy, whose 2010 ERA is more than two points higher than his career ERA. Let's hope this one turns out better than the 10 that preceeded it.
Email your feedback, questions, and tips Mondesishouse@gmail.com