Pirates the worst ever? Not yet

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pirates_090903.jpgWith three more losses, the Pittsburgh Pirates will be guaranteed their 17th consecutive losing season, something no other major American professional sports team has been inept enough to pull off.

Take a moment to consider the enormity of that feat. There are kids just about out of high school who have NEVER seen the Pirates finish even 81-81, let alone threaten to win a championship. The last time the Pirates had a winning season …

Hannah Montana was about to enter the world.
— It was Iraq war, not wars.
— Jay Leno replaced Johnny Carson as host of the Tonight Show.
— Madonna turned 34, which is how old A-Rod is now.

Impressive, indeed.

So are the Pirates the worst U.S. sports franchise ever? It’s tempting to say so, but 17 years is a long time, and our memories are short. The Pirates used to be proud, used to be talented.

They’ve got five championships and nine pennants on their resume, and of their 128 seasons, 69 of them have been winning campaigns.

So they’ve been terrible in recent years, and their current team isn’t worthy of cleaning the bathrooms in that beautiful stadium. But worst ever? Afraid not. Not even the worst in baseball history.

Pick on the Astros, or the Mariners or the Rangers or the Brewers. But lay off the Pirates. At least for now.

Of course, there’s still time.

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If you Twitter, and can appreciate a happy Pirates story, follow me at @Bharks.

Mets trade Curtis Granderson to the Dodgers

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The Mets traded centerfielder Curtis Granderson to the Dodgers for cash considerations or a player to be named later, the teams announced late Friday night. Granderson was rumored to be drawing interest from teams earlier in the week, and found a landing place after slashing .256/.360/.721 since the start of the month. In a corresponding move, the Dodgers designated right-hander Dylan Floro for assignment to clear roster space for the outfielder.

As a whole, the 36-year-old’s 2017 campaign has been a tad underwhelming. Granderson entered Saturday batting .228/.334/.481 with 19 home runs and an .815 OPS through 395 PA, and accrued 1.7 fWAR to the 5.1 fWAR he produced during his pennant-winning, MVP-contending season in 2015. Still, with under $4 million remaining on his contract, another 20+ homer season around the corner and the defensive chops to man center field, it looks like a prudent deal for the Dodgers as they continue to bulldoze their way to the playoffs this fall.

The club has yet to outline their plans for Granderson, but his addition to a crowded outfield could displace centerfielder Joc Pederson, who turned in a meager .214/.329/.415 batting line through 292 PA in 2017. It could also have ramifications for fellow veteran Andre Ethier, assuming he’s healthy enough to compete for a starting role when he comes off the 60-day disabled list in September. The Mets, meanwhile, are expected to lean more heavily on rookie outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who’s made just five starts this season after struggling to get consistent playing time on the field.

Corey Kluber exits game with right ankle sprain

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Indians’ right-hander Corey Kluber was removed from the sixth inning of his start on Friday night, bringing a streak of 14 starts with 8+ strikeouts to an unfortunate end after he sprained his right ankle. Kluber stumbled off the mound while trying to field a base hit from Eric Hosmer and was seen visibly limping as he moved to cover first base. He was allowed to stay in the game for one more batter, but quickly yielded a three-pitch single to Melky Cabrera and left the mound with head athletic trainer James Quinlan.

It was a poor ending to another strong outing by the right-hander, who delivered 5 1/3 innings of one-run, four-strikeout ball and took his 12th win of the season after the Indians amassed a nine-run lead. Postgame comments by Cleveland skipper Terry Francona suggest that Kluber isn’t facing a serious setback after sustaining the sprain, however, and might even be good to go by the time his next start comes around on Wednesday.

While the Royals escaped Friday’s loss without injury, the 10-1 drubbing pushed them 6.5 games back of the division lead and half a game behind the Twins and Angels for the second AL wild card berth. They’ll host a rematch on Saturday at 7:15 ET, with left-hander Jason Vargas set to face off against Indians’ righty Trevor Bauer.