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Pirates say they're capable of handling adversity


Pirates say they're capable of handling adversity
The Pirates aren't going to allow one three-game hiccup in Milwaukee put a shower on their encouraging April.

"We're playing good Baseball," pitcher Ian Snell said. "We just ran into a hot team."

The Pirates (11-10) withstood injuries, a youthful lineup and 13 road games to post their second-best April since 1994 and provide some early hope to their victory-starved fans.

"It could be better, it could be worse," first baseman Adam LaRoche said. "I don't think anyone is disappointed. We can hold our heads up right now."

The Pirates , who got a much-needed day off Thursday, will get a chance to snap their longest losing streak of the season when they open a three-game series tonight against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park.

The sweep by the Brewers extended the perplexing losing streak in Milwaukee to 18 games. But the Pirates head into May with the majors' best ERA (3.41), one year after having Baseball's worst staff.

In the clubhouse after Wednesday's 1-0 loss to the Brewers, the players stressed this year's team is better equipped to handle the inevitable ups and downs of a 162-game season.

"We'll be fine with it," said LaRoche, one of the clubhouse's level-headed leaders. "We've got guys in here that aren't going to fazed by a little (bad) stretch. We will see how we can recover from it."

Snell, who owns a 2.16 ERA in his past four starts, knows tough streaks are going to happen. The Pirates last year had 13 separate losing skids of at least three games. The key, they said, is how you deal with adversity.

"These guys are really strong-minded," Snell said. "Nobody likes to lose, but down the road, we might lose six in a row. It all depends on how you come out and play every day. I think we've played hard every single game this year."

The Pirates get a chance to end their 15-game losing streak to Milwaukee when the Brewers come to town for a two-game series beginning Monday at PNC Park.

While the Pirates have lost 18 in a row at Miller Park -- the worst streak in the majors in 28 years -- they are 6-7 in their past 13 home games against Milwaukee, and own more victories over the Brewers at PNC Park (43) than any other team.

Help is on the way, too. Center fielder Nate McLouth (right oblique) should return to the lineup tonight after missing the past six games. Jack Wilson is eligible to come off the DL next weekend.

But let's not get carried away with April.

The last time the Pirates entered May with a winning record (2002), they dropped six of their next eight games and followed with eight consecutive months of losing Baseball, a streak that stretched to July 2003.

In the next 27 days, the Pirates play 26 games, including road trips to St. Louis, New York, Washington and Chicago (Cubs and White Sox).

"If the pitchers do their jobs like they have been," Russell said, "we will be fine."


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 2, 2009

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