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Last night the Pittsburgh Pirates lost badly to the Chicago Cubs 17-3. The game started out well enough as the Pirates scored two runs in the first inning. Then it all went to hell in a hurry. The Cubs added a run in the bottom of the first, then proceeded to score in all but one inning of the game. The Cubs scored seven times in a nightmarish bottom of the fifth inning.

Ivan Nova continued his horrible second half of the season as he lasted three innings and gave up five runs on five hits. The bullpen then proceeded to fall apart as all but one reliever allowed multiple runs to score. Truly this game was akin to a slow, painful death. Yesterday I said, I am numb to the lows but this game tested that theory. The listless effort by the Pirates was absolutely disgusting. You expect a mediocre team to lose some ball games but to see them get embarrassed like this is pathetic. AT&T Sports Network promoted this series as some kind of last chance for the Pirates’ playoff chances. This series turned into a stark reminder of how far the Pirates currently are from the NL Central’s best team.

AT&T Sports Network promoted this series as some kind of last chance for the Pirates’ playoff chances. This series turned into a stark reminder of how far the Pirates currently are from the NL Central’s best team. The Cubs didn’t just beat the Pirates, they dismantled them. Everyone involved with the Pirates should feel ashamed for the result of this series. I also don’t want to hear anything about the playoffs unless you’re talking about the Indianapolis Indians or the Altoona Curve. When it comes to October, the Pirates will be watching the same way we are, on television.

From Ace to Joker

Ivan Nova pitched like a genuine ace for most of his Pirates career. Since the All Star Break, he has looked like a modern day, Josh Fogg. Nova has a 6.38ERA in the second half of the season, which is a far cry from his 3.21 first half. Nova isn’t doing the most basic job of a pitcher, which is keeping the team in the game.

I am not ready to quit in Nova or declare his contract a bust but this second half has certainly been concerning. I think it might be best to shut him down and let some young pitchers get some Big League innings. Is Ivan Nova fatigued? I can’t really say for sure but that is the most likely culprit behind his struggles. This could also be a massive over-correction and regression to the norm.

I don’t expect he’ll be THIS bad for the rest of his Pirates’ career but perhaps his days of pitching to an ERA under three are over. As long as he can return to pitching well and keeping the team in ballgames, his contract can still be a win for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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Steve Kubitz

Steve Kubitz was born and raised in the Stanton Heights neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA. He is a long time and annoyingly positive baseball fan. He bought into the Pirates' 5-year-plan before it was cool. He is best known for staying calm about losing streaks on twitter and trying his best to make sure other fans don’t overreact to when the Pirates lose a tough ballgame to a division rival. The only thing he isn’t positive about is the wave during close ballgames.