A double dose of angst — unlike any other

If sitting through Thursday’s doubleheader felt like a double dose of your most frustrating night as a Pirates fan — and if you aren’t yet on the AARP mailing list — the feeling wasn’t misplaced.

The Bucs’ 5-1, 6-5 losses in Baltimore added up to record-sized agony.

The Pirates left 28 men on base in the two games and, according to my painstaking research, that is their most in any doubleheader in the last 40 years (I stopped at 1974).

The previous high was 27, on July 13, 1984 — while sweeping the Giants at Three Rivers Stadium, winning 8-2 and 4-3. So there was nothing frustrating about that one.

In fact, of the hundreds of twin-bills in that span, there were only six other instances when the Bucs’ LOB was in double-digits  each game. And here’s the rub: They swept five of the previous instances, and split the other. Those facts may seem contradictory — until you realize that when you’re raking the ball all day, at some point your rallies have to stop with men still on base.

Against the Orioles, the Bucs managed to score six runs while leaving nearly five times as many men on base by going 6-for-30 with those men in scoring position.

Since 1974, they’ve done worse — and couldn’t have cared less. In a Sept. 29, 1991 twin-bill at Shea Stadium, the Pirates were 3-for-33 with men in scoring position — yet swept the Mets by scores of 4-3 and 2-1.

I came across a couple of notable two-a-days 0-fers.

On May 19, 1974, the Pirates were 0-for-19 in splitting two with the Phillies.

On April 20, 1983, they were 0-for-16 while getting swept in New York.

P.S. While I neglected to keep track of the exact number of doubleheaders included in this survey, they were still quite commonly scheduled in the ‘70s, not merely creations of rainouts. In 1979, for instance, the Pirates played 13 twin-bills, and that appeared to be the routine frequency throughout that decade.

2 Comments

Saw Cole in the middle of the night in Baltimore. Would have been smarter to send him home to Pittsburgh earlier in the day. Duh!

In 1979, the Pirates came from behind in both games of a double header to sweep the Phillies. However, what bothers me today is the difference between a fan and the ownership. The fan wants the best team on the field, best starters and the best pen it can have to compete. Ownership wants the best team they can get with what they have invested. Wandy can no longer pitch like Cumpton or Sadler. Yet, we sent Cumpton back down. Morton, is generally awesome for his first three innings and, therefore, should be a long reliever. Cumpton should take his place as a starter. Gomez should be sent down or traded. I’m not surprised that Pimentel has a bad shoulder. I like bringing up Hughes and Mizzaro. I would also like to see Sadler in the rotation. We need Polanco now but I imagine that the businesss side controls that and he will probably come up mid-season. We could be out of it by then. We also definitely need a shortstop. The shortstop is the only one for which we have no replacement in the minors; all of the rest are there. We should try to find a trade for a decent one. Mercer is terrible at leaving men on base by hitting into double plays and his fielding is only adequate. Travis looked at strike three four consecutive times during that double header. Both could be traded for a shortstop. We should have been more aggressive over the winter. I have been following the Pirates since 1951 and this year may be one of my biggest disappointments in all of that time. I hope they prove me wrong. John

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