PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — Despite their incredibly frustrating play as of late, punctuated by a losing streak that reached six in Cincinnati, the Pirates remain in playoff contention. Baseball Prospectus editor/Beaver County Times reporter John Perrotto joined “Seibel, Starkey & Miller” Wednesday to discuss the September swoon.

“This has just been a choke job. There’s no other way to put it,” he said. “Last year, you could at least say they were young, and hadn’t been through it, but this year, they’ve just gagged. I’m going to hold out some hope and say they get to 82 [wins], but I think they’re going to cut it right down to the last day of the season.”

Perrotto believes there is plenty of blame to go around if the Pirates fail to end their 19-year streak of losing seasons, if not also reach the postseason for the first time since that infamous 1992 campaign.

For one thing, he believes All-Star Andrew McCutchen, once a runaway league MVP candidate, hasn’t provided enough leadership by example down the stretch.

“I realize he wasn’t going to hit .370 all year, but McCutchen has not stepped up to be the player you need him to be,” Perrotto said. “If you’re going to be one of the top superstars in the game, you have to be able to carry your club, and he’s slipped badly in the second half.”

He also says manager Clint Hurdle, despite reaching the status of fan favorite, is certainly not exempt from criticism.

“I think Clint’s a great motivator. There’s no doubt he’s changed the culture here. But he’s questionable, in my mind, as a strategist…and I do think he gets out-managed on a rather routine basis,” Perrotto added.

Furthermore, Perrotto would have preferred a more aggressive approach by the front office.

“They showed me they didn’t want to win at the trade deadline,” he said.

Check out the rest of what he had to say on Wednesday’s show:

The Pirates, who remain 2.5 games out of an NL playoff berth, will try to snap their skid in Chicago against the Cubs Friday afternoon at 2:20, with the Pirates Preview Show with Dan Zangrilli and Kevin Orie beginning at 12:55 on your flagship home of the Bucs, SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan.

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