I started the week by looking at the Pirates’ upcoming schedule, and suggesting they’d be better off tanking and getting a higher pick, especially with the chance of dropping out of the top ten picks next year if they do well.
The Pirates have been against intentionally tanking, but they certainly did a good job this week of doing what was needed, getting swept by the Seattle Mariners. That now puts them with the number six draft pick in the 2020 draft, winning the tiebreaker over Seattle due to the Mariners having a better record in 2018.
So how high can the Pirates go? I previously thought that their ceiling was the sixth pick. That was before the three game sweep, and also before Toronto won four in a row. The Pirates now find themselves just three games ahead of the Blue Jays, with the chance to move to the number five pick.
The next jump after that is currently 9.5 games back from the Pirates, so it’s unlikely that the Pirates could move higher than the fifth pick.
On the flip side, there are five teams who are currently within four games of the Pirates, which means that number 11 spot is still in play if the team finishes strong.
Fortunately for the Pirates’ chances, they’ve got three games in Milwaukee this weekend, followed by three games against the Cubs next week. That should at least keep them inside the top ten, with a chance to be close to the top five by the end of the season.
My column from yesterday got pushed back to today. We’ll also have any news and the live discussion.
SONG OF THE DAY
I love a good cover song, and this is a great cover of “Creep” by Prince. In my opinion, Prince is the greatest guitar player of all time.
Today is a much shorter quiz, looking at Pittsburgh sports nicknames.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
By John Dreker
Five former Pirates born on this date, starting with the most recent. Jason Bay, left fielder for the Pirates from 2003 until 2008. He was the first Rookie of the Year in team history (2004) and he remains the only one to this day. In 719 games in Pittsburgh, he had an .890 OPS, which ranks as the seventh best in team history. Bay was an All-Star during the 2005-06 seasons.
Randy Kramer, pitcher from 1988 until 1990. He started 18 games and pitched 34 times in relief over his three seasons in Pittsburgh. Kramer was traded to the Cubs late in the 1990 season for minor league pitcher Greg Kallevig, who didn’t play another game after the deal.
Dennis Ribant, pitcher for the 1967 club. He made 22 starts and 16 relief appearances during his only season in Pittsburgh. The Pirates traded Ribant away following the season and reacquired him prior to the 1970 season. He never played in the majors after 1969, pitching in AAA from 1970-73, before retiring.
Vic Lombardi, pitched for the Pirates from 1948 until 1950. Won ten games during the 1948 season. Made 31 starts and 80 relief appearances with Pittsburgh, posting a 4.60 ERA over 373.1 innings
Red Juelich, infielder for the 1939 Pirates. He hit .239 in 17 games during his only season in the majors. Played seven years in the minors.
On this date in 1969, Bob Moose no-hit the New York Mets, the team that went on to win the World Series. You can find the boxscore here, complete with play-by-play. Moose walked three batters in the game. Amazing when you look at the two lineups and think that the Mets were somehow the better team at the time.
Exactly 62 years earlier, rookie Nick Maddox threw the first nine inning no-hitter in team history, defeating Brooklyn by a 2-1 score. The record books list this as the first no-hitter in team history, but that’s only due to a change made many years later that didn’t count shortened games as official no-hitters. I’m not sure what else to call an official complete game with no hits (they called them “no-hitters” for a very long time), but the Pirates had one by Lefty Leifield in 1906 and another by Howie Camnitz less than a month before Maddox pitched his game. So technically it’s the third no-hitter in franchise history, but if you refuse to use common sense, then Maddox pitched the first no-hitter for the team. I just preface it by saying it’s the first nine inning no-hitter to appease the baseball gods.