It's no secret the Pittsburgh Pirates have faltered at the end of games this season. The bullpen has blown leads, faded during ties, and turned close games into blowouts.
However, the best way to gage how the Bucs have performed during crunch time is by comparing how many games they've won when trailing in the seventh inning or later with how many they've lost when winning at any time after the seventh inning.
After combing through the box scores for the Pirates season, Pirates101 found that the team has won 9 games when trailing in the seventh or later, compared to 13 losses in the opposite scenario.
Lucky number 13 in this dubious loss column came yesterday, when Gerrit Cole helped to blow a 2-run lead in the seventh inning during a crucial Labor Day game in St. Louis. The Pirates now stand three games back of the first place Cardinals, and two games back of the second-place Milwaukee Brewers, who are in possession of the second Wild Card spot.
So, if the Pirates hadn't blown just 2 of these 13 games, they would be tied with, or potentially ahead of, the Cardinals or Brewers, since some of these losses came at their hands.
Hindsight is 20-20 though, and it is easy to envision the Pirates dropping a few of the late comeback wins they have under their belt.
However, if the Pirates drop more of these games than they win over the remaining weeks of the regular season, it will be hard to imagine the team reaching the postseason for the second consecutive year.
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