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.