A 17-1 loss counts like any other loss


PITTSBURGH — Monday night’s final score was 17-1, not that you were likely around to see that become official.

Los Angeles Dodgers 17, Pirates 1.

It was that ugly, too, as the pitching staff got beat up. Somehow, the Pirates got through the ordeal without having to use a position player to mop up the last inning or two from the mound.

Starter Nick Kingham’s fielding was as big a problem as his pitching. Poor Tanner Anderson finally made his major league debut, but the Dodgers used him for a punching bag.

By the time it was over, Anderson had a major league earned run average of 22.50 and a plane ticket back to Indianapolis and Class AAA.

Social media was understandably upset. “Disgraceful!” one Facebook poster screamed.

Well, it wasn’t good, that’s for sure. But it wasn’t that important, either. It was one game in a 162-game schedule.

It went horribly bad, but there was another game less than 24 hours later.

Games like that happen sometimes in baseball. The Pirates had a terrible night, and the Dodgers had a great one.

The Dodgers project as a team that will be playing in October. It will be an accomplishment if the Pirates finish on the right side of .500 this season.

But if you’re trying to draw a deeper meaning from Monday’s game, there is none.

In 1960, the Pirates lost Game 2 of the World Series 16-3 to the New York Yankees. They lost 10-0 in Game 3.

But the Pirates won one more game than the Yankees, and soon 16-3 didn’t matter any more.

Losing 17-1 isn’t much fun for the players or the fans who are clicking off the TV after midnight.

But there’s not a lot more to it than one day’s result in a very long season.

Staying cool

This miserable heat and humidity makes you wonder what people did before air conditioning became commonplace.

The late Harvey Haddix, who served the Pirates as a pitching coach in the 1970s and ’80s, liked to tell a story about staying in steamy St. Louis with no air conditioning.

He said the players would soak their top sheet in a bathtub filled with cold water, then cover up with the soggy sheet.

At some point in the night, they’d wake up, re-soak and go back to bed.

Somehow, they survived.

Odd signing

Bringing back 41-year-old Matt Cullen makes for a great story, but can he still help the Penguins?

The investment is modest — a one-year contract for $650,000. Cullen can still skate.

Is he still a fit? It won’t cost much to find out.

Happy Fourth

Happy Independence Day! Enjoy the holiday, and take it easy now that more powerful fireworks are legal for sale in Pennsylvania.

May you get to the Fifth of July with the same number of fingers you had on the Third.

Mehno can be reached at johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com.