ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 2: Hisanori Takahashi #21 of the Los Angeles Angels Anaheim delivers a pitch against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on August 2, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
Perhaps it was inevitable -- and if it happens, in retrospect it will have seemed inevitable -- but the Pittsburgh Pirates' chance of reaching the postseason seems to be shrinking by the minute. After losing three straight, they're now third in the Wild Card standings; worse, perhaps, they've got the fifth-best run differential (+15) among the five current Wild Card contenders.
But to management's credit, the Pirates aren't going down without a fight. To that end, Friday they bolstered what's already a pretty good bullpen by claiming Hisanori Takahashi off waivers from the Angels. Takahashi was recently demoted to the Angels' Triple-A farm club, presumably because of his bloated (4.93) ERA. But Takahashi's strikeout-to-walk ratio this season is actually the best of his three-season career, and he might well thrive in the National League.
Of course, his dozen or so innings down the stretch aren't likely to make a real difference. But you never know, and the Pirates' roughly $1-million investment in Takahashi seems like a small price to pay for the attendant goodwill.