Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Here's how it would happen: June 2008

I honestly think the Pirates have no chance to contend or even finish .500 this year, but the truth is that there must be some sequence of events, no matter how improbable, that can take place that would bring home an NL Central pennant for the Bucs in 2008. It's probably just because I've watched too much LOST lately, but I'm going to write a series of flash-forwards dealing with the one alternate dimension in a million in which the Pirates win the NL Central in 2008. Someone hit the gas on the infinite improbability drive ...

After a scorching 17-10 May (which followed a 13-14 April), the Pirates find themselves at 30-24, a mere game behind the first place Cubs. On to June ...

June 6th- Brandon Webb no-hits the Pirates, giving them their second loss in a row and dropping them to 33-27 and giving the D'Backs a scorching 39-21 record.
WHYGAVS: You know, it was bound to happen. The Pirates have lost an unfathomable number of games in the past 15 seasons, mostly with embarrassingly bad offense. I have no idea how today is the only no-hitter that's been thrown at us since the Bonds' days. Figures it would come in the first season we might have a shot at a winning record.

June 12th- After being swept by the Diamondbacks and losing the first two games against Washington to give them six losses in a row, Ian Snell spins a 3-hit, 11 strikeout masterpiece against the Nationals to end the losing streak. During the loss, Xavier Nady suffers a high ankle sprain after an awkward slide into second and Steve Pearce is called up to start in right field.
WHYGAVS: Losing streak? SNELL! DOESN'T! DO! THAT! That, right there, is what you give a contract extension for. I may go heavy on the stats from time to time, but there is no way I can quantify just how huge this performance was today. We're 34-31 right now and whether we can keep that up, I don't know. If we do, part if it will have something to do with Ian Snell's performance today.

June 14th- The Pirates beat the Orioles 10-2 while I am in attendance at Camden Yards. They move to 35-32.
WHYGAVS: **Long rambling post about how awesome Camden Yards is, even if it doesn't come close to comparing to PNC Park.**

June 22nd- The Pirates lose to the Blue Jays 5-2 at PNC Park, dropping to 38-36.
WHYGAVS: It's happening again. The Pirates start playing American League teams, and start losing. They're 4-5 against the AL this year, but two of those wins are against the Orioles so they don't count and one of the losses is to them, so it counts double. That makes them 2-7 against the AL, by the unofficial tally. Honestly, these two home series against the Yankees and the second place Rays (!) may be the two most important series for the Pirates since 1997. If they don't manage to go at least 4-2 against these teams, I think the season might be headed into the tank. Lucky me, I get to be home for all of them!

June 26th- In the bottom of the 11th inning, Steve Pearce hits his third homer since his call-up, a walkoff 2-run shot off of Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the 11th to bring the Pirates back from a 6-5 deficit and sweep the Yankees.
WHYGAVS: (post dated 1:17 AM, as I'm in Western PA, will be at this game, and will have to make the hour drive home before I can write up the marathon). STEVE PEARCE!!!! Holy cow, I haven't been to a game like that at PNC since the Mackowiak double header. Standing room only crowd, the Pirates in competition after the first week in April, and a walkoff homer to lead the Pirates to victory. Electric, amazing, I dunno. I'm out of adjectives. Somehow, the Pirates are 41-36 as we approach the end of June. I know it's impossible, improbably, unlikely, and possibly a harbinger of doom, but if you can't believe in this team, you can't believe in anything.

June 29th- The Pirates lose to Tampa 2-0 on a gem from EricScott Kazmir. I file my first post since Friday, shortly before WHYGAVS Night (which is June 27th, remember? REMEMBER?!?).
WHYGAVS: My head hurts. WHYGAVS night, wake up, wedding, reception, open bar, giant barn, open field, who knows what really happened. All I know is the Pirates looked as bad today waving at Kazmir as I feel and that loss makes three in a row, dropping the Bucs to 41-39 and a full four games behind the Cubs and Brewers. I am feeling less than optimistic about a lot of things right now. I'm going to bed.

June 30th- The Pirates lose to the Reds 2-1, though Johnny Cueto throws 137 pitches in the complete game victory, prompting me to take my anger at the four-game losing streak out on Dusty Baker over at FanHouse.
WHYGAVS: You know, if you would've told me in March that this team would be 41-40 at the halfway point in this season, I would've been beyond ecstatic. I think overjoyed would've probably been the world I would've used. Today, I just feel kind of hollow about this loss. Maybe it's being back at work after almost a week off, maybe it's the hangover (it's still there), who knows. But I feel something decidedly less than joy at the moment. If we can just limp into the All-Star break, maybe we can pull things back together, but I'm getting less and less hopeful of that by the moment. Stupid interleague play always ruining everything.