The Bucs made some moves at the trading deadline, but nothing has changed with pitching. I'm watching the Gameday feed on mlb.com right now. The Pirates have recorded 22 outs, allowed 18 hits, and given nine walks. That means they're allowing the opposition an on-base percentage better than 500. They expect to be able to win games like this?
Starting pitching is a shambles. Van Bent-whatever-his-name-is and Herrera both suck. Russell knows this because he has incredibly short hooks for these guys. Herrera lasted an inning and a third tonight. That means the bullpen has to get 23 outs (if they expect to win, but maybe they figure they'll lose so they'll only need to record 20 outs).
I don't want to be critical of guys who are trying to make a living. I know I'd be thrown off my game if I had to do GIS work with someone looking over my shoulder saying, "You're going to blow it again, loser!" But the fact is, these guys can't do their jobs. They're in the wrong line of work. The economist in me dislikes the misallocated resources these guys represent. They should be high school gym teachers, not major league pitchers. The saddest part of "creative destruction" is always the destruction.
I'm angry because this was supposed to be our year. As recently as the July 4th weekend the Pirates were one game below 500. Now they're three outs away from being 10 games under for the first time this season. There is little hope they will finish with a winning record, which means the record for consecutive losing seasons is virtually locked up. It doesn't seem like it was so long ago that they were winners, but that's because I've lived an abnormally-static life. I was dating my wife when I went to the 1992 National League Championship Series. Most 30-year olds can't say that. But the fact is their losing season streak has consumed more than half my life, and I'm not that young of a man anymore. (And when you remember that they sucked for most of the 80s, too, I have three years of sentient Pirate fanaticism that have coincided with a non-crap ballclub.)
Final score: Arizona 13, Pittsburgh 7.