AlliedNews.com - Grove City, Pennsylvania

June 30, 2013

RANDOM THOUGHTS: We can only hope the Bucs' magic continues

By Corey J. Corbin
Allied News Sports Columnist

OPINION — FOR OVER HALF OF my life, I’ve had to put up with a losing baseball team down in Pittsburgh.

I was 13 when Sid Bream and the Atlanta Braves broke my heart back in 1992 by eliminating the Pirates in Game 7 of the NLCS.

But now as a cautiously optimisitic 34-year-old, I’m watching a Pittsburgh Ball Club that is in very rarified air — best record in Major League Baseball rarified air — after the Bucs downed Seattle 4-2 and St. Louis lost 4-3 Wednesday.

Like most of you out there, I doubted if I’d ever see the Buccos reach such a station, especially with all the ineptitude over the past 21 years.

And because of that ineptitude and especially because of the past two years, I remain cautiously optimistic about the Pirates.

We all remember how the Pirates have given us reason to believe each of the past two summers then broken our hearts with late season collapses.

So will this be another late season collapse or will the PBC learn its lessons from the past two seasons and seal the deal?

Sorry folks and it hurts me to say this, but I don’t think the third time will be the charm.

And I mean playoffs. I definitely can see them getting their heads above .500 at the end of the season, but I just can’t see them staying on this pace for another three months.

Remember, they only have to win 34 games between now and the end of September to finish over .500.

Whereas, they need to win another 40-50 games to keep themselves in contention.

Which one is more likely?

Basing this solely on some numbers, I can see the Bucs getting a little over the 34 wins necessary to finish above .500.

Speaking of numbers, here are some for you to chew on:

ä Over a third of their victories are come from behind wins (19-of-48), including 9 wins after trailing in the seventh inning.

ä Despite being 18 games over .500 Thursday afternoon, the Pirates have only outscored their opponents by 36 runs.

ä Their bullpen is sixth in the league in ERA, but second in innings pitched, which doesn’t bode well for the team going forward.

Somehow, someway they’re 19-18 when the starting pitcher lasts less than six innings.

ä They are 10-1 in games started by someone other than A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez, Jeff Locke, James McDonald, Charlie Morton or Francisco Liriano.

Like I said the numbers are less than encouraging, so how are they doing it?

Karma? Magic spells? Good old fashioned good luck?

Not really sure, but I hope I’m wrong and it lasts the entire season.