Buccin’ the Trend: Pirates experiencing early ups and downs

Say hello to Andy Barlow – he is just finishing up his Master’s degree at Point Park and he will be blogging about the Buccos for us this summer.

Every April, the Pittsburgh Pirates pack their bags and leave Bradenton, FL for the friendly confines of PNC Park.  A new season always brings hope for the fans, much like myself, who have suffered through 19 consecutive losing seasons.  Manager Clint Hurdle, all-star outfielder Andrew McCutchen, and our beloved Buccos began their quest for 81 wins and beyond on April 5th.  A record crowd of nearly 40,000 watched the cross-state rival Philadelphia Phillies defeat the Pirates, 1-0.  However, the Pirates took the next two games to win the series, both in dramatic fashion!

PNC Park

PNC Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After a tough road trip out west (to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Arizona), the team returned home to host the 2011 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals and Hurdle’s former team, the Colorado Rockies.  The Rockies are led currently by former Pirates manager Jim Tracy.  After losing two of three to St. Louis over the weekend, the first game of the series with Colorado was rained out for Monday evening.  After a Tuesday win, the ensuing doubleheader was split, resulting in a big home series win for Pittsburgh.

The Pirates finished April with a four-game series split in Atlanta and entered May on the road in St. Louis.  They set a major league record…one that is a tribute to the pitching staff and the defense, but perhaps a detriment to the offense.  For the first 18 games of the season, they did not allow more than five runs and, subsequently, did not score more than five runs…in any game!  It was the longest streak of its kind in baseball history.

The Pirates are currently 10-14 and in fifth place in the NL Central division.