The Pittsburgh Pirates have compiled a 100-plus game loss record in 2010 that is unenviable even by recent standards. Yet this represents a mix of the truly awful and semi-respectable.

There are now signs of hope for their play in some divisions, particularly their home in the National League Central, which is arguably the weakest division in the majors.

The Pirates have “arrived” against the Chicago Cubs with a 10-5 season result, as good as can be reasonably hoped for.

If they had won more close games, they COULD have had winning seasons against the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds, with say, 9-7 tallies instead of the 5-11 and 6-10 results actually achieved.

The Pittsburghers came to St. Louis 5-7 against the Cardinals, so in theory, a sweep could have made them 8-7 for the season series. Except that it wasn’t going to happen in Busch Stadium when the Pirates have the worst road record in Major League Baseball. It might have happened if the Bucs had won two or three close games earlier in the season.

Houston has been the Pirates’ bugaboo, although more victories in close games could given the Pirates six or seven wins (out of 15) instead of four.

The Pirates have also shown signs of life out west.

They beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2 and the Colorado Rockies 4-3 in their respective season series, and went a reasonable 3-4 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Throw in their 2-4 record against the San Francisco Giants, and the Bucs are actually .500 against these four western division teams.

But they were blanked by the Padres, from time to time the West’s strongest team, 6-0. No other National League team has done this, although some American League teams did so in the Pirates’ atrocious Interleague series.

Almost as bad has been Pittsburgh’s performance versus the National League East. Against its weaker denizens, they’ve won one game apiece at home against the Washington Nationals, New York Mets, and Florida Marlins. The first two season series have been concluded with tallies of 1-5 and 1-6 respectively, but the 1-3 record against the “Fish” do not include four season-ending games on THEIR turf.

The tally against the Atlanta Braves is 3-3 at home, and 0-3 in Turner Field for 3-6 on the season. Surprisingly, the Pirates have done the best against the division-leading Philadelphia Phillies, winning three games at home (out of four) and splitting two road games.

Even so, with the Bucs already down a game in St Louis, one win out of four in the coming series in Sun Life Stadium would be “sufficient,” two would be surprising, and three or more would be stupendous.


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