Pittsburgh Pirates: Allergic to Leather

Barry BealCorrespondent IApril 21, 2008

The Pirates are 7-11 heading into tonight’s game with the Florida Marlins. To paraphrase Bull Durham:

“How did we ever win seven?”

“It’s a miracle.”

It certainly is a miracle that the Bafflin’ Buccos have managed to lose only 11 times in 18 affairs with the worst defense in Major League Baseball. 24 errors in 18 games is not a formula for success in the Majors.

It’s not a formula for success in the beer leagues, either.

Pirates fans probably needed a few extra beers after the pathetic showing in Chicago this weekend. The final body count: three losses, three errors, and 29 runs allowed.

Sunday's two errors came in the fifth inning of a game the Pirates had a shot of winning.

First baseman Adam LaRoche has a grounder clank off the old mitt (although that contact he made with the ball was a marked improvement over the lack of contact his bat made all afternoon).

Freddy Sanchez contributed to the inning with a terrible throw on a double-play attempt, which allowed a run to score.

And, although he wasn’t charged with an error in the inning, pitcher Franquelis Osoria made a fool out of himself twice. First, he belly-flopped to block a bunted ball.

Then, on a roller up the third-base line, he grabbed it before letting its momentum die and possibly rolling foul, ensuring an infield single on a play when he had no shot of getting an out.

There are physical errors in baseball; for the most part, they are apart of the game, and you must learn to deal with them. The mental errors, however, are what make this team’s situation so frustrating to watch.

Yet, they are 7-11. Behind Nate McLouth’s 18-game hitting streak and Xavier Nady’s extra motivation to be traded anywhere, the offense hasn’t been a total disappointment.

That said, without some help from LaRoche, Sanchez, and Jason Bay, the Pirates are doomed to match the Phillies with their 16th straight losing season, the longest in pro sports.

Less than a month into the season, that looks to be the only sure thing that the Pirates can catch.