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The Pirates have now lost 21 of their last 30 games

Lost in all the hoopla over the Major League debut of pitcher Paul Skenes on Saturday was the fact that the Pirates didn’t seem to have much else going for them.

The Buccos went into Saturday’s game losers of 20 of their previous 28. Yes, they did get the win on Paul Skenes Day (just barely), but they quickly crashed back to reality on Sunday afternoon, as they lost perhaps the most frustrating game of the season by dropping a 5-4, 10-inning affair to the Cubs at PNC Park.

Pittsburgh lost two of three to the Cubs over the weekend and five of nine on the homestand. The Pirates had a chance to “get right” during the nine-game stretch of home cooking because the lowly Rockies and Angels were part of it. Unfortunately, after taking two of three from Colorado, Pittsburgh lost two of three to the Angels.

The Pirates have now lost 21 of their last 30 games and are 18-23 and in third place in the National League Central Division, 6.5 games back of the first-place Brewers. The Bucs are also three back of the third wildcard spot in the National League. On the surface, Pittsburgh doesn’t appear to be in bad shape, standings-wise, but we’re talking about a team that started out 9-2. We’re also talking about a month-long tailspin. How much longer will this thing continue to spiral out of control? Remember, the Pirates got off to a hot start in 2023, only to “slump” for three months. The Buccos rebounded at the end of the year to finish with a respectable record and give fans hope they were on the uptick. They then rewarded that hope with a hot start to the 2024 campaign. Unfortunately, an MLB season is a long one (162 games), and the truly good teams are consistent and usually avoid prolonged slumps.

The good news is that the Pirates have a chance to end this tailspin and crawl back into the heart of the NL Central race. They have a three-game series at Milwaukee, starting on Monday night, before heading to Chicago on Thursday to begin a four-game weekend series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The bad news is that the Buccos could continue to struggle during this seven-game road trip and find themselves hopelessly far behind in the division standings. Sure, there would be more than enough time to make amends, but, again, we’re talking about a young Pirates team that has a recent, and current, history of taking slumps and making gourmet dinners out of them.

It might still be early in the 2024 season, but it feels as if the Pittsburgh Pirates are already at a crossroads.


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