Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pellas On The Pirates: Time For Russell and Kerrigan To Walk The Plank

I'll get right to it. It's time to fire John Russell and Joe Kerrigan.

Yes, I'm saying it while I'm still shell-shocked from the combined 36-1 beatdown the Brewers just put on the Bucs over the past three days---in our own house, no less.

Yes, this is still very much a team in transition, one still in the process of being rebuilt from top to bottom. Yes, Milwaukee is significantly better than us at the moment---though nowhere near 35 runs over 3 days better. And yes, expectations for this team were rightly modest heading into the 2010 season.

I'll add, too, that it is a rare thing when I ever actually call for someone to lose their job, particularly in the world of sports, which is, after all, certainly a relatively frivolous undertaking in the grand scheme of things.

But this was too much. Wa-a-a-y-y too much.

It's not just that the Pirates got swept by the good-but-definitely-not-great Brewers. It's that they were annihilated. Wiped out. Terminated with extreme prejudice. Embarrassed. Humiliated. Steamrollered. Tidal-waved.

This wasn't merely 3 losses in a row in our home park. This was Genghis Khan against the village idiot. Hulk Hogan versus Urkel. Hitler against France. Heck, anyone against France. The Pirates in this series looked for all the world like a bunch of tee-ballers who took the field against a team of grown men.

This was, in short, completely and totally unacceptable. All other considerations are secondary. Period.

Nor was today an aberration. Not only has the team lost, and lost consistently, during the Russell and Kerrigan Era, it has lost at a truly historic rate against the Brewers in particular. Here's a newsflash: this Brewers team is nowhere close to the '27 Yankees. There is no excuse---none, zero---for Pittsburgh to have lost at the ridiculous clip they've lost to Milwaukee over the past 3 or 4 seasons.

John Russell and Joe Kerrigan---if not the entire current regime---have pretty much been given a mulligan since they took over the Pirates, and for the most part, rightly so. If this organization was not the worst-run in modern professional sports history before they came aboard, it was certainly in the conversation, along with such luminaries as the Los Angeles Clippers and, until recently, the St. Louis-Arizona Cardinals.

Obviously it takes time, probably a lot of time, to recover from such ineptitude, no matter how good or smart or professional the new management team might be.

But the Pirates are going backward, and they look bad doing it. Somehow they've managed a close to .500 record over the first 15 games, but their appalling run differential and bushel of blowout losses---already---makes it look very flukish that they've even done this well.

Most distressing of all has been the pitching. The starting rotation, under the tutelage of supposed guru Kerrigan, is beyond brutal. What in the world has happened that so many pitchers have nosedived straight into the ground upon their arrival in Pittsburgh?

How many hurlers under Kerrigan have become objectively better, and how many are objectively worse? What in the name of Ray Miller is going on here? And, how much of Kerrigan's reputation before he got here was due to his professional competence and how much was due to his being in the right place at the right time on a Boston staff that featured several Hall of Famers?

Neil Huntington likes to talk about how he really needs to change the culture in Pittsburgh. To that end he's rid the organization of almost all of the players who were on hand when he took over. Why should it be any different when it comes to management?

If Huntington really wants to make a statement that losing will no longer be tolerated in Pittsburgh, here's a golden opportunity. What this team did against the Brewers in this series was a disgrace. It's time to fire John Russell and Joe Kerrigan.

(GW was wondering after the historic 20-0 thumping what exactly Joe Kerrigan and Ray Searage have done to the staff - Will wonders no more.)

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