Pirates in serious trouble

The Bucs' flaws are being exposed and another playoff trip is unlikely

Updated: April 28, 2014, 10:00 AM ET
By Paul Swydan | ESPN Insider

Wandy RodriguezJustin K. Aller/Getty ImagesWandy Rodriguez had a 7.65 ERA in four starts before hitting the DL.
Last season, the Pittsburgh Pirates came within one win of the National League Championship Series, and their star center fielder Andrew McCutchen took home the National League Most Valuable Player award. It was an amazing season, but thus far the success has not carried over to 2014.

After winning five of its first seven games, Pittsburgh has dropped 14 of its past 19 contests, to fall to fourth place. As a result, the Bucs dropped 11 spots in the ESPN Power Rankings this week, all the way back to 24th place. And this isn't some short-term overreaction. The Pirates are in real trouble.