PITTSBURGH - The baseball season resumed Friday, but contrary to popular shorthand, this is not the second half of the season.
The Pittsburgh Pirates actually launched the second half on July 2 with their 82nd game.
After Saturday's 5-4 loss in Cincinnati, they're 5-9 in the real second half. That's a .357 winning percentage. They were .630 in the real first half.
They built the 51-30 first half largely on the strength of pitching. The everyday lineup has been consistently unproductive.
That has continued, and it's gotten more obvious as the pitching has inevitably slipped a bit. Francisco Liriano showed some rust in Friday's game. A.J. Burnett, betrayed by some leaky defense, put the Pirates in a 4-0 hole from which they never escaped on Saturday.
There's no immediate offensive available within the organization. The Pirates can hope that some current players pick it up, but that's dangerous. After all, they've been sub-par at four of the eight starting positions through the first 94 games. What makes anyone think that's going to radically change?
The pressure is on general manager Neal Huntington to find a trade (or trades) that make sense. The Pirates need to add at least one bat, and they can't mortgage their future to get it.
These aren't the old days, where a team could go all out to make a short-term addition that might be costly in the long run. The game's economics don't allow that sort of gamble any longer.
The non-waiver trading deadline is 10 days away. That's how much time Huntington has to find someone who can help the Pirates.
Concerned about Jason Grilli's presence on Sports Illustrated's cover this week?
Some people believe in the myth of an SI jinx. If you're one of them, it should be a consolation to know that Grilli will only be jinxed in part of North America.
SI has done regional covers for a while now, and Buster Posey of the Giants is on the covers distributed in the western part of the country.
Dave Parker was the only Pirates player to win All-Star MVP honors. That was in 1979 when he was the game's best player, an intimidating combination of speed and power.
Things aren't so good these days. A report from Cincinnati says Parker, 61, has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, which has left him with tremors and speech difficulty.
A lot of people are saying ESPN's Chris Berman was insufferable during the Home Run Derby
Should you expect anything else? Berman's sophomoric act should have been sent back-back-back to the frat house a long time ago.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org