The Pittsburgh Pirates are trying to climb back into playoff position and time is running out. As of this article there are only 25 games left in their schedule and they remain a game and a half out of the wild- card spot.
So with this little time remaining, they can not afford to lose many games. But if they must lose a game, last night's 12-2 debacle in PNC against the Cubs was the perfect way to lose.
There is no looking back at last night's game and thinking "Oh man, it was so close."
It is impossible to break down the game and point to one or two places where it could have been won.
It was a complete and utter breakdown on all counts. The pitching was bad, the offense was bad and the defense, with seven errors, was atrocious.
And that is the perfect loss. No one part of the team was let down. Everyone was almost equally terrible.
The bats were shut down by Travis Wood, who let only one hit in six innings. A. J. Burnett only lasted five innings. The defense, starting with first baseman Brock Holt, opened up the flood gates. And left fielder Starling Marte was so bad that it was not obvious that he had played baseball before last night's game.
According to Yahoo Sports, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle called the game their "worst game of the season."
Who could argue with him?
With time running out, losses can wear down a team, especially ones that got away.
If a team loses 1-0, they can lament that they blew a solid pitching performance and grind their teeth thinking of runners on base.
If a team loses 9-8, it can be agonizing knowing that even mediocre pitching could have secured a win.
If a team blows a lead late, it can have a residual effect into the next day. If a team loses a game on an error or a blown call, it can be devastating.
When a team loses 12-2 to a pitcher who had not won in months and had a defensive day worthy of The Bad News Bears, there is no frustration. No element of the game was wasted. It was a total failure.
As Hurdle said in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, "there's nobody in there that isn't embarrassed to some degree." Well, then that would be a total team effort.
Dust yourselves off, Pirates. The Cardinals lost as well and the wild card is still only a game and a half away.
Besides, you are bound to play better today. How could it be worse?