2010 Pittsburgh Pirates
2010 Pittsburgh Pirates / Franchise: Pittsburgh Pirates / BR Team Page
Managed by John Russell
History, Comments, Contributions
Expectations for the 2010 Pittsburgh Pirates were very low entering the campaign. Pittsburgh had finished 2009 with a 62-99 record and had gotten worse as the season progressed and many established players (ex. Adam LaRoche, Freddy Sanchez, John Grabow, Nate McLouth, Eric Hinske) were traded away. They had made only a couple minor moves entering '09, acquiring 2B Akinori Iwamura in a deal for reliever Jesse Chavez and signing a handful of free agents designated for the bench or bullpen, with the most notable being Octavio Dotel, given the closer's job.
Spring training did not help the hopes as the Bucs were 7-21-1, their worst spring since the 1985 Pirates were 6-18. Most of the starters were set prior to camp with the biggest news being Kevin Hart losing the #5 rotation slot to Daniel McCutchen (who would only last three starts before being sent to the minors in favor of Hart). Andrew McCutchen was one bright light of camp, hitting .351, while Lastings Milledge batted .308 and Delwyn Young hit 6 homers and drove in 18.
Pittsburgh began 2010 on a high note, topping the Dodgers, 11-6. Garrett Jones homered twice, the 6th Pirate ever to do that on Opening Day, including one shot that landed in the Allegheny River (the 28th time in PNC Park history the feat was accomplished). Ryan Doumit added a 3-run jack from the cleanup slot.
Pittsburgh started 7-5 despite being outscored by 22 runs in that span. They then got swept by the Brewers in three games by a combined 36-1 margin. In the third game, April 22, they suffered the worst defeat in franchise history, a 20-0 loss (the previous worst was a 18-run margin of defeat), allowing three hits to Milwaukee pitchers among 25 total hits.
They finished April 10-13 with Doumit, LaRoche and Andrew McCutchen all posting an OPS+ over 110 while Cedeno, Clement and Milledge were all under 70 among the starters. The team had the worst ERA in the majors by about a run, though. They avoided the cellar in the division, staying in the middle of the pack despite a losing record, during May.
One low point came on May 28 - at that point, opposing pitchers were hitting .250 against Pittsburgh, more than Pirate first basemen, second basemen, third basemen, left fielders and pitchers and within .006 of their shortstops and right fielders.
With Iwamura struggling at the bat and in the field, he was replaced by hometown product Neil Walker (a converted catcher and third baseman) at 2B in early June. The team called up other top prospects in June, with Brad Lincoln, Pedro Alvarez and Jose Tabata also making their debuts. The month was a bad one, though, as the team went 6-20, their worst June since 1891. They finished the month at 27-51, ahead of only the Orioles in all of the majors.
The Bucs went 1,097 at-bats and 33 games between multi-run homers, the longest at-bat stretch of that type in the majors since the 1984 Astros (1,252). The first of the blows was Delwyn Young's homer off Stephen Strasburg in Strasburg's MLB debut on June 8 and the bookend came on July 18 when Garrett Jones took Chris Sampson deep.
On July 20, the Pirates scored nine runs in the first inning. It was their most in a first inning at home since 1893, only the third time in franchise history they had gotten as many runs in the opening frame. The last time they had scored as many in any game in the first inning was June 8, 1989, when announcer Jim Rooker said "If we lose this game, I'll walk home" and Pittsburgh promptly fell 15-11 to Philadelphia. This time, the Pirates held on for a 11-9 squeaker win.
The next day, July 21, Pedro Alvarez became the first Pirates rookie ever to hit two or more homers on consecutive days. While Pittsburgh fell into last place in the major leagues by August 12, Alvarez continued to shine. On August 7, he hit a 2-out, 3-run, 10th-inning walk-off home run off Huston Street in a 8-7 win over Colorado. It was part of a run of seven straight games with a RBI, the longest stretch by a Pirate rookie since Frank Colman in the 1940s.
At the trading deadline, Pittsburgh made many fewer deals than in 2009, trading away many of their off-season signees (Javier Lopez, Octavio Dotel, Bobby Crosby, Ryan Church and D.J. Carrasco) and no starters or longtime players, getting a few mid-level prospects in return such as Andrew Lambo and Pedro Ciriaco.
Pittsburgh lost its 82nd game on August 20, the earliest on the calendar they had clinched a sub-.500 season since the 18-year losing streak began.
The Bucs wound up finishing 57-105, the third-most losses in franchise history after the 1890 and 1952 clubs. They had the seventh-worst winning percentage in franchise history. They went from first in the majors in fielding percentage in 2009 to last, increasing their error total by 54 percent. They had two of the five MLB pitchers with opponent averages over .300 in Zach Duke and Paul Maholm. Their 17-64 road record tied for second-most in the majors since 1900, ahead of only the 1935 Boston Braves.
Awards and Honors