Thursday, October 2, 2014
The Goal for 2015: Win the Division
I am not going to spend a lot of time today analyzing all of the "If...then...." axioms of the 2014 Pirates season. (Example: "If Jason Grilli didn't stink and blow all those saves early in the year, the the Pirates would have won the Central Division.") There are a thousand and one such statements that could be made and analyzed, and, as has been pointed out by many, they all tend to even out over the course of a 162 game season.
But, and you knew there was a "but" here, didn't you, here is the most glaring overall problem that the Pirates had in 2014:
Vs. Reds 7-12
Vs. Brewers 7-12
Vs. Cardinals 8-11
That is a 22-35 record against your biggest division rivals, and even if you include a 14-5 slate against the awful Cubs, the Pirates still were only 36-40 in the Central Division.
We have just seen the perils of being a Wild Card team and having to play a one game crap shoot. The Pirates, as evidenced by how they lined up their pitching rotation in that final series against the Reds, made it clear that they knew how important winning the division was. So for 2015, the path to glory is obvious: Don't stink against the Reds, Cardinals, and Brewers. I'll leave it up to Huntington, Hurdle, and the players to figure out exactly how they go about accomplishing that goal.