As of Saturday morning, the Pittsburgh Pirates sit just 1.5 games out of a wild card spot in the National League. If Friday night’s debacle versus the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park is any sort of measure with which the Pirates’ chances could be represented by, then it appears that the focal point of this story book’s happy ending will be rooted in winning 82 games as opposed to a post-season berth.

The Pirates committed seven errors en route to a 12-2 loss to the Cubs. Rookies Starling Marte and Brock Holt registered two errors each while Rod Barajas, Josh Harrison and Gaby Sanchez also flubbed otherwise routine plays. It was every bit as ugly as one would imagine. And efficient. All seven errors were committed before the end of the 7th inning.

Ten of the Pirates’ last 12 losses have come at the hands of sub-.500 teams. They’ve managed to stay in contention for a wild card spot, thanks in large part to corresponding struggles from the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals, but reality is setting in on a youthful club and its patchwork pitching staff. The Pirates hold a 72-65 record today with 25 games left on the schedule. Their remaining series (excluding two games versus the Cubs this weekend) will be played against the Reds, Cubs, Brewers, Astros, Mets, Reds and Braves.

For the love of Wilbur Cooper, please win at least 10 of those contests.

And the rest

The end is nigh now; Stephen Strasburg has been shut down. [Getting Blanked]

Jeff Samardzija will make his final start of the season tonight versus the Pirates. By electing to shut him down, the Cubs will attempt to finish the season with Jason Berken, Justin Germano, Chris Rusin, Chris Volstad and Travis Wood as their starting staff. [Chicago Tribune]

Roger Clemens could return with the Houston Astros next season. [New York Post]

Brandon McCarthy is still recovering in hospital, but he’s making Arrested Development references from his Twitter account:


What happened to Carlos Beltran? [Baseball Nation]

The New York Mets presented Chipper Jones with an interesting painting on his final stop through Queens. [New York Mets]

Lastly, Brett Jackson demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice his face and body in the name of a deep fly ball [Brisbee Nation]