In compiling not only eighteen consecutive losing seasons but a large number of last place finishes in the NL Central, the Pittsburgh Pirates were particularly prone to losing in certain types of situations.This team is now in the process of overcoming some of those stumbling blocks.
It used to be that the Pirates could "never" win on the road. Their 17-64 showing in this regard in 2010 was epic in incompetence. But this year, they have a 13-12 mark in this regard, exceeded only by the contending Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, and Florida Marlins.
One major reason is Kevin Correia, who's 5-0 away from home.. He's not so good in PNC Park (which may not be "home" to the San Diego transplant), but he makes up for it by winning games on the road, a mark of a veteran pitcher. It is one area in which the team's mostly rookie players otherwise have trouble.
The Pirates used to be cannon fodder for American League Teams in interleague play. But the Bucs just took two out of three against the very comparable Detroit Tigers. Correia was part of this "win," with his first victory at home. From a scoring perspective, the home team went 16-5 in the series, enough for a sweep, except that they failed to score in the final game.
Pittsburgh still has one bugaboo remaining: the tendency to lose season series to the otherwise mediocre Milwaukee Brewers by lopsided margins. Correia has been no panacea here, having lost both his games against this team. But that is reflected by the club record of 0-5 so far against this team,which mirrors the horrible 1-14 2008 season series.
The Pirates have lifted themselves out of the cellar by improving in two of the three areas discussed above. The Brewers are most of what now stands between them and a winning record.
The year that Pittsburgh puts together a winning season against Milwaukee is probably the year in which they will be contenders. That's not likely to happen in 2011, but it could happen in 2012, or more likely, in 2013.
In the meantime, "two out of three ain't bad."