Can collapsing Pirates avoid 20th straight losing season?

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Last year the Pirates were tied for the NL Central lead with a 53-47 record on July 25 and then went 19-43 down the stretch, finishing in fourth place at 72-90 for their 19th consecutive losing season.

This year Pittsburgh got off to an even better start with a 63-47 record through August 8, at which point there were lots of articles about how the Pirates wouldn’t be collapsing down the stretch again.

Unfortunately they’ve done just that, going 9-21 since then to fall from 2.5 games back in the NL Central to completely out of the division race at 12.0 games back. They’re still very much in the Wild Card mix, but unless the Pirates turn things around in a hurry they might have enough trouble simply remaining above .500.

Pittsburgh must finish no worse than 8-13 to avoid a 20th consecutive losing season. The good news is that their next two games are in Cincinnati and then their only remaining road series are against the Cubs, Mets, and Astros. The bad news is that their home schedule consists of series against the playoff-bound Reds and Braves along with a Brewers team that’s won 16 of 21.

Yankees activate Gary Sanchez

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The Yankees have activated catcher Gary Sanchez from the 10-day disabled list. To clear a roster spot for him, the Yankees optioned Kyle Higashioka to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Sanchez missed close to a month with a strained groin. His return is more than just a comeback from an injury, however. It’s a chance to start the season over in a sense, with the hopes of putting his dreadful first half behind him. The Yankees catcher hit a horrible .190/.291/.433 with 14 home runs, 41 RBI, and 36 runs scored in 265 plate appearances before going down. He’ll look to get back on track against the Mets tonight.