Life after Littlefield: AJ needs to end the losing streak


Jarrod Blumer, Contributor

Five games.  The Pirates have lost five straight games after last night’s 5-3 loss, going 2-8 in their last ten games, and are now just three games over .500.  And yes this is, for the most part, the exact same team that was 63-47 roughly a month ago.  From 16 over .500 to 3 over .500 in a month, James Cameron couldn’t make a movie that’s as depressing as this.

Last night could be described as a microcosm of the Pirates’ second half of the season; mediocre pitching and untimely hitting against a team that the first half Pirates had little trouble with.  Correia went six innings giving up four runs, which earned him his 9th loss of the season.  You know you’re in for a dandy of a game when Brandon Phillips hits Correia’s first pitch 399 feet over the fence.  Again the team’s defense hurt the team once more, as Michael McKenry’s second error of the year allowed a run to score in the 4th inning making it 4-1 Reds at that point.

Another trend that continues is the Pirates’ inability to hit.  While Alex Presley and Gaby Sanchez both homered last night, the team as a whole was just 2-7 with runners in scoring position.  If they want to win games in September against good teams, they have to drive guys in more often.

Hoping to bring the team out of the doom and gloom funk that they have been in, once again, is AJ Burnett.  It’s safe to say that if the Pirates didn’t gamble on trading for Burnett this offseason that they would probably be on the verge of losing 90 by weeks end.  McCutchen broke out and Pedro is becoming the slugger that he was profiled to be at Vanderbilt, but AJ has put the team on his back every fifth day as the leader of the rotation and team.  Anyway, he looks to get his 16th win of the season tonight and save the Pirates’ season in Cincinnati at 7:10 p.m.

In other team related news, Major League Baseball released the schedules for the 2013 season this afternoon.  Pittsburgh opens up at home against the Cubs and has interleague games against the Mariners, Tigers, Angels, Athletics, and Rangers.  Mark your calendars for the season to collapse right after the All-Star break, as the Pirates travel to Cincinnati for a series starting July 19th.