Some closing thoughts on what was an astonishing weekend of Pirates baseball.....
- As hard as it might be to believe, the ten inning 6-5 win on Sunday may have been even more improbable than the 14 inning 6-5 win on Saturday.
- Two weeks ago this morning, the Pirates were nine games behind the Cardinals. today they are two and one-half games behind. Making up 6.5 games in fourteen days is almost unbelievable. If something like this happened in, say, the last two weeks of September, it would be deemed to be historic. Of course, the Cardinals are STILL in first place, so this is a long way from over.
- Ace Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal gave up more runs this weekend - four - than he had in the entire season leading up to this weekend - three.
- After listening to a polished national Fox broadcast by Matt Vasgersian and John Smoltz, last night we were treated to the folly of the three man booth used by ESPN. Play-by-play man Dan Schulman is okay, but you also have to deal with John Kruk in his role as the Fat Guy Buffoon and the endless bloviations of Curt Schilling, a man deeply in love with the sound of his own voice.
- For all that, Schilling did say two things of note in the tenth inning last night. As the Pirates were mounting their rally, he noted that, and I am paraphrasing here, "if these guys come back and win again tonight, it might be the springboard for something really special this season". And when the game ended, he said, that no matter what the score might be in any game for the rest of the season, the Pirates will never again feel like they are out of the game.
- Remember the cries in the not so distant past that Gregory Polanco should be returned to the minors? In the last seven days, in 26 at bats, he is hitting .308 with 4 RBIs, 3 Runs Scored, 7 walks (against only 3 K's), and sports an OPS of .878. And three of his hits were game winners.
- Remember the cries at the end of Spring Training that Jung Ho Kang should start the season in Indy and that someone like, say, Steve Lombardozzi (who did out hit Kang in the Grapefruit League) should come north with the team. How might that have worked out?
- The Pirates return form the All-Star break with series in Milwaukee and Kansas City, and then a home series against the Nationals. As a friend of mine might put, that's a lot of grass to mow.
- As great as the recent 8-2 home stand was, it should not be forgotten that Josh Harrison is out for the foreseeable future. That loss is going to be felt eventually, and I am sure that it will factor into whatever trade deadline machination Neal Huntington will try to pull off.
- Have you watched the highlights of the last two games synced with the radio play-by-play of Greg Brown? It is classic, but I truly fear for the man's health if this keeps up. Hope an EMS guys is standing by with the paddles for the rest of the way.
As far as what to expect once the second half begins on Friday, I can only offer the following advice: