<
>

Sound off on the Pirates

Some records are impressive, other distinctions are dubious. To avoid the latter, the Pirates need to turn things around in a hurry. Pittsburgh has had 14 straight losing seasons, and with two more sub-.500 campaigns, the club will tie the all-time mark for consecutive losing seasons set by the Philadelphia Phillies (1933-48).

If the Bucs are going to get back to winning, a number of things have to click. Primarily, their young pitchers -- Zach Duke, Ian Snell, Paul Maholm, and Tom Gorzelanny -- must step up and deliver. The offense, which ranked near the bottom of every National League batting category last season, also needs to "hit 'em where they ain't" more often.

Freddy Sanchez has been banged up most of the spring, but he is the reigning NL batting champion (that's got to count for something, right?). Adam LaRoche (32 HRs, 90 RBIs last year with the Braves) fills the need for a left-handed power bat. And Jason Bay has had at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs for two straight seasons.

So can the Pirates avoid a 15th straight losing campaign, or will they end up one step closer to infamy? Let us know what you think.