Every team goes through highs and lows and struggles with injuries, cold bats and faltering starters. There are always games that teams COULD win. Through some revisionist history, four timely "Do Overs" could have the Bucs in much better shape in the NL Central race. As May comes to a close, let's look back at four games the Pirates SHOULD have won.
April 8 vs Cincinnati: Surviving a two and half hour rain delay was not enough. The Bucs ran into their first walk off as Joey Votto singled in Zack Cozart in the 11th. The Pirates somehow squandered eight hits and seven walks, leaving 11 on base.
Getting swept is not an ideal way to start the season--especially for a team with lofty expectations like the Pirates. Opposing team late inning heroics began in Cincy and the Bucs have yet to solve this problem.
May 1-3: St Louis series = three walk offs
I could have selected all three games, but really just winning the series would have been plenty satisfying. So I'll go with two games. In game one, Burnett pitched well, the Cardinals were just fortunate enough to have the last AB. Games two and three SHOULD have belonged to the Bucs. Liriano pitched eight strong and gave up one run. The Pirates left an astronomical 18 men on base and were a pathetic 1 for 13 with RISP. The next day the Pirates got off the mat to tie the game in the ninth and a Pedro Alvarez HR gave them the lead in the 12th. Didn't matter. Talk about snake bitten. The series sweep--consisting of not one, but three Cardinal walk offs.
Great pitching kept them in the series, but too many men left on base and untimely hitting led to a deficit the Pirates are still trying to reduce. Had the Pirates won the Cardinals series it would have resulted in a major four game swing and also deflated the Cardinal's air of invincibility.
May 15 Vs Cubs: The game will be remembered for Polanco's misplay to end the game, but the Bucs battled back twice--from deficits of 7-1 and 10-5--only to lose again in an opponents final AB.
The takeaway here is that all four games were within the division. If the Pirates want to win the division, they need to find a way to win season series vs all their NL Central Division foes. So far the walk off magic has eluded the Bucs. Even one signature walk off win, would go a long way in bolstering this teams confidence and maybe propel them to more wins in close games. Anyway, I hope so. Let's not have to revisit the time machine at the end of July.