On the interminable and awful road trip/homestand/road trip sequence that consumed the Pirates after the season’s first week ended, something about the Pirates just felt different than the 2013 edition. I fully admit that this is the sort of thing that fans say when they don’t understand exactly what was wrong, but the 2013 Pirates had this frenetic energy almost from Opening Day through the end of the NLDS that made it really hard to get down on the team for any long stretch of play.
Obviously a 4-15 stretch leaves fans asking plenty of questions and the 2-9 stretch that started with Ryan Braun’s obliteration of Tony Watson and Jason Grilli the day before Easter and ended in Baltimore made it seem like there was just nothing that the Pirates could do at all to win even one baseball game.
What’s been nice about these first two games against Toronto is the reminder that sometimes, a team can dig themselves a 5-0 hole, boot around a bunch of balls in the field, and still manage to pull themselves together in time to win a game. The Pirates looked legitimately terrible in the early going on Saturday, with Francisco Liriano having no ability to locate his pitches and the defense doing him absolutely zero favors. RA Dickey, Aaron Loup, and John Gibbons (who refused to take Aaron Loup out for some reason in the bottom of the seventh) left the door wide open for the Pirates, though, and the Bucs strung eight hits and three walks together in the seventh and eighth innings to push six runs across and steal a second straight win.
Let’s hope that in a month we can point to this game as a microcosm for the early season. Out of the room. Into the hallway. Down the elevator. Out of the building. Baby steps.