According to his bio, the Post-Gazette’s Dejan Kovacevic has been watching the Pirates since 1972. He’s been writing about sports since 1990 and covering the Pirates since 2005. He’s seen highs, and he’s seen a ton of lows (some of which were the result of highs). In light of that, when he says something like this, you have to take heed:
These Pirates are on a course to prove conclusively that they, and
not some predecessors, are the worst team in the franchise’s 124 years.
His reasoning is sound. While the Pirates’ current 109-loss pace doesn’t put them in record-setting or even franchise worst territory, Kovacevic correctly notes that due to increased player movement and a greater number of teams in each league you just don’t see as many utterly putrid clubs as you used to see back in the day. Sure, I’d consider making a case for that 1890 Alleghenys squad who gave up 1235 runs in a 136-game schedule, but there were extenuating circumstances there, with most of the players jumping ship to the Players League in mid season. But yeah, I get where Dejan is coming from.
His article made me go look back at the Pirates’ history, and maybe the most shocking thing about this is that the 2010 Pirates are going to be only the second team in Pittsburgh’s 18-year run of futility that will lose 100 games. I probably would have taken the over on three or four to be honest.
Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”
Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”
Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.