Thursday, April 26, 2007


Four wins in a row and the Pirates have moved to that definition of mediocrity, the .500 record.

Every win now is big money for the team and the players. But they will have to kick it up a notch if they want to win much the rest of this homestand.

That series with the Astros was an epic battle of weakness against super weakness. I'm with Phil Garner. The Astros lost these games more than the Pirates won them. The Astros were much weaker than the Pirates. The Pirates had just enough self-command to walk away big winners.

That said, wins are wins and you take them as you find them.

The next two series are all-important.

Ian Snell goes for us tomorrow, with Tom Gorzelanny to follow. They have their aces ready to go, so the Pirates should approach these two games as they would a playoff series. If they get blown out by the Reds and then get blown out by the Cubs, then they are back to needing something like a four-game winning streak just to regain the opportunity. And the way the last fourteen years have gone, it is hard to say that four-game winning streaks are common things.

So it could be the team's last chance. They need to establish themselves as a group of men who tour the country with a winning record. The sooner the better. And that must be the goal: get above .500 and stay there--for a long time.

If they need a little extra motivation, they should study the standings. It is always a good day to win a baseball game, but it is an especially good time to be mediocre, or slightly above average, in the NL Central. The Pirates are locked up with the Reds. Only one team can advance from this point.

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