By Mike DeFabo
Times West Virginian
For more than 20 years, Pirate fans have asked: When are the Buccos finally going to break .500?
The question is almost rhetorical. Through losing seasons and “rebuilding years,” management traded away the key pieces time and time again. Another “five-year plan,” they said. Before long, fans just assumed that the Pirates were destined to continue their losing ways.
But this season is different. The Pirates’ strong rotation and deep bullpen has catapulted the team to a Major League-best 3.08 ERA. Five Pirates got the All-Star game nod, the most since 1972. For the first time in a long time, there is hope not just for a .500 year but also for the playoffs.
It’s no longer a question of “if” the Pirates will break .500, but instead, “when.”
Let’s answer that. Everyone get out your handy-dandy calculator for a minute.
There are 162 games in a season. Divide that by two and you get 81. That’s the magic number. If the Pirates can get there, they can throw a Little League team on the field for the remainder of the games and still end up breaking the dreaded losing streak (plus the couple wins the Little Leaguers pick up from lowly Chicago).
As of today, Pittsburgh is 61-42 after wrapping up a series against Miami. That means they need 20 more wins to get to 81.