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Insider Only Officially a Bridge Season? Math is not on the Pirates side

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2016 Playing Out as a Bridge Season?

Who saw taking three out of four from the Dodgers coming?

That’s what the Pirates did just when their season appeared to be taking it’s last swirl before heading down the toilet.

They’re still way too far behind the Cubs – 13 games – to have any realistic hope of winning the division. Especially when the Cardinals are ahead of them in second place, 10 games out.

As of Tuesday, the Pirates were still three games under .500 and in fifth place for the wild card, 4 ½ behind the Marlins and Dodgers in the wild card race and that really stinks.

The Dodgers, Mets and Cardinals are all ahead of them. And all three will be happy to spend millions at the trading deadline to get better.

The Pirates won’t.

It’s not July yet and the math is still not insurmountable, but it’s looking more and more like this season is over for them and it’s time to think about being a seller before the July 31st trading deadline.

When you beat Clayton Kershaw and take three out of four from the Dodgers it’s easy to start thinking about putting together a great second half and getting into the post season, but that’s when the math starts to become your enemy.

Have you seen anything from this team, including what you just saw last weekend, that makes you believe it can be 21 games over .500 the rest of the way?

They have 85 games left and their record is 37-40. To finish with 90 wins, they’ll have to go 53-32.

The team that won 98 games last season might have a shot at doing that but that team is gone.

No Neil Walker, no J.A. Happ and no Francisco Liriano.

There’s a guy wearing Liriano’s uniform who’s still on the roster but he’s not the pitcher who played a huge role in the last two playoff runs.

The Pirates never officially called this a “bridge” season, but it’s looking more and more like one every day.

How many days until Steelers training camp?

James-Harrison-ee-388x258 — Speaking of the Steelers, how about the way the NFL is harassing James Harrison? Because a now-defunct network, Al Jazeera, did a story that linked him to using HGH.

Harrison invited Commissioner Roger Goodell to his home in Ohio to witness his drug test.

The Al Jazeera story had some holes, the biggest of which is that the witness who spoke to an undercover reporter about delivering PEDs to several NFL players recanted everything.

I have been taking a “guilty until proven innocent” approach when athletes – especially ridiculously large and muscular ones- are accused of juicing.

Sue me, but I believe the witness was telling the truth the first time.

The NFL started testing for HGH last year.

Do you know how many players failed the HGH test?

None.

That’s because it’s a joke.

Here’s what Don Caitlin , a doping expert told USA Today: “It doesn’t catch many people at all. It’s not a test that’s designed to really do that. It will catch you if you just used it a few hours ago, but if it’s a day or more, it’s not going to find you.”

So, pardon me if I’m not all that impressed with Harrison’s offer to let the world see him take his drug test.

–Pitt Athletic Director Scott Barnes said on Monday that beer will be sold during Pitt football games at Heinz Field next year.

West Virginia started doing it a couple of years ago and apparently there was no noticeable increase in couch burnings.

There was a lot of talk from Barnes about how it will enhance the game experience for Pitt fans but it’s about money -$500,000 per season – and that’s okay.

But I could fill at least both end zones at Heinz Field with the people who told me that they had stopped going to Steelers games because of the drunks.

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Photo: David Hague

About The Author

John Steigerwald

TIOPS Columnist

John Steigerwald, a life long Pittsburgher, has been covering PITTSBURGH sports since 1977 as a TV anchor/reporter, columnist radio reporter/commentator and talk show host. He is also the author of one of the best selling local books in Pittburgh history, "Just Watch The Game."

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