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The Pittsburgh Pirates have suffered the same fate over the past two seasons, imploding in the second half after appearing to be legitimate contenders in the early months.
On July 25, 2011, the Pirates were tied for the lead in the NL Central Division. In fact, they had a half-game lead in the division just a week earlier.
The day before the trade deadline that year, the Pirates picked up first baseman Derrek Lee. The following day they picked up outfielder Ryan Ludwick. They seemed primed for a pennant race for the first time in 19 years.
Unfortunately, the two deals did nothing to lift the Pirates. After a debilitating 19-inning loss to the Atlanta Braves on July 26, the Pirates went into a complete swoon, losing 43 of their final 62 games to finish at 72-90.
In the words of Yogi Berra, last season was "deja vu all over again" as the Pirates started even better than the previous year, with a 58-42 record on July 28. They again attempted to bolster their roster for a second-half push, acquiring starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez, first baseman Gaby Sanchez and right fielder Travis Snider.
Again, the Pirates faded, losing 41 of their final 62 games to finish the season with their 20th straight losing record.
The Pirates face 30-1 odds in winning the National League pennant this season.
Thus far, the Pirates have added Russell Martin and seem primed to at least put an end to their record of futility. They also feature a solid young core of hitters in Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker and Starling Marte.
In order to contend, however, they're going to need to find a second half pick-me-up that can actually help instead of hurt.
After all, that's what trade deadline pickups are supposed to do, aren't they?