Life after Littlefield: I guess it’s time to relive this nightmare season.

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Jarrod Blumer, Contributor

Now that a few days have gone by and the Pirates are sitting on their couches watching the MLB postseason, as am I, it’s time to look back and examine what went right and what went wrong in the 2012 season in Pittsburgh.  But mainly what went wrong.

I’ve been debating on how exactly I was going to approach this season recap and for some reason the idea came to me to observe every player’s season.  But then the thought of having to assess the seasons of Chad Qualls and Josh Harrison crossed my mind and I realized watching Sid Bream slide past Mike LaValliere 100 times would be less painful.  So instead I’ll go position by position evaluating how they performed, and in some cases underperformed, this past season.  I figured that 2 positions per week should keep “Life after Littlefield” fairly relevant at least until the playoffs are over.  But the rest of this post will be just a quick look at the improving Pirates’ record.

Getting this out of the way now because I don’t really feel like writing a full 500-word post with half of them being the word “collapse.”  The Pirates blew a huge Wild Card lead everyone knows that, but their record has improved significantly over the past few seasons. Prior to the last 2 seasons, the last time that the Pirates had at least 70 wins was 2004.  Lets put this into perspective.  In the last pre-Hurdle 70-win season Jason Kendall was still a .300 hitting everyday catcher, Oliver Perez was the Pirates’ best pitcher, and Jason Bay was the NL Rookie of the Year.  6 years, that’s how many seasons went by without the Pirates winning at least 70 wins before Hurdle took over.

But the Pirates have come a long way since Hurdle took over in 2011.  In his first year the team improved by 15 wins and by 7 this past season.  While that is exactly what you want to see from a rebuilt team like the Pirates, the fact that the Pirates challenged for the NL Central title until the end of July and finished under .500 raises a lot of questions throughout the organization.  However, those questions will be answered throughout the rest of my season recap blog posts, as this one is already starting to make me nauseas.