Monday, May 9, 2011

Pirates at .500

...what does it mean?

At this point in the season, not much. But, the timing of the achievement, of the dramatic victory to reach the number and being in between series provides a good opportunity to take stock of the Pirates season thus far.

With 80% of the season still to go, it's hard to say that the Pirates can sustain their record over the 128 games still to be played. They were definitely going to play .500 ball over a 34 game stretch during the course of the season, so it may just be a coincidence that it occurred during the first 34 games. Maybe their destiny is to stink and the record will adjust itself accordingly as the sample size increases.

On the other hand, if you're looking for a source of optimism, it is that the Pirates rank 7th in team ERA in the NL. Pitching was the biggest cause of concern at the outset of the season and yet it has been the strength of the pitching that has carried us thus far. In particular, it is three Neal Huntington acquisitions who have outperformed their expectations: James McDonald, Kevin Correia and Mr. Electric, Charlie Morton. If you didn't check it out last week, I highly recommend reading Dejan Kovacevic's profile on Morton (part 1 here and part 2 here).

The disappointing other half to the equation would have to be the offense. With high expectations from the young core four, the offense has mostly fell flat, ranking just 11th in the NL in runs scored, though they have been surging in May. An optimists view of that situation might be to think that the offense will eventually start to perform, so maybe we haven't seen the best out of the Pirates yet.

My take on the Pirates thus far? Well, I'm not going to get ahead of myself. The season is still barely a month old and we have a long way to go before getting excited about .500. But, I'm going to enjoy it for as long as it lasts. May looks like a tough month with divisional road matchups against the Brewers, Reds and Cubs, plus series against the Dodgers, Tigers and Braves looming. If they can get to June 1 at .500, then I'll start to get excited.


  1. A couple more numbers to chew on: the Pirates have won 7 of 11 series thus far, including the first two and past three and this is the latest the Pirates have been at .500 since they were 30-30 on June 11, 2005.

  2. Wow its kind of hard to believe they were .500, 60 games in to the 2005 season. I really don't remember that. This team has the potential to be a lot better than that team

  3. Also, another week until we hit the quarter pole for the season. That seems like an appropriate time to take a look at our preseason predictions post and see who is looking like our best prognosticator thus far.

  4. Great post Ben State! Glad to have you back after your trip. Enjoyed that comment about the sample size.

    The pitching has been a surprise and it is interesting that they are Huntington acquisitions. Has he bought another year on the job with the success they have seen so far? Probably too early to tell.

    I am definitely going to enjoy their success as long as I can. It's great to revel in their recent success, even if it doesn't last. But I do agree, if their success continues into June, I will get really excited.

  5. And, now they are one game over .500, make that .514! If you weren't watching, it was a great 8th and 9th inning, well deserved win.

  6. The last time that they were over .500 "later" in the season I don't really remember, but maybe this team will have the sustainability to stay over .500.

  7. Post-Gazette this morning says that May 29, 2004 the Pirates were 23-22.

  8. nice use of the double rainbow guy. . .