The most annoying part of Pittsburgh Pirates baseball is their utter inability to stop or even slow down the opponents ability to steal bases. Bad guys are stealing pretty much at will lately. Last night the Milwaukee Brewers stole seven bases against the Pirates. It was the most since 1990.
“They have really good team speed,” Clint Hurdle.
Hurdle sounds like a beaten man on the topic. He casually addressed the challenge, almost shrugging it off. Some mumbles about the pitcher and catcher and then he said something like the game was in hand. It’s hard to believe a manager would accept such a glaring deficiency in his team. Blows my mind.
Everyone’s favorite Brewer Ryan Braun didn’t even wait for a breaking ball. The Hebrew Hammer reached first base and moments later he would be standing on second base.
Braun stole three bags with ease, but he wasn’t the only Brewers player to do so. It happened throughout the game and lead to numerous Brewers runs. The Brew Crew really made it look easy much like most of the league has done this season. Braun had three and now has 27 on the season, Aoki stole one, Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez grabbed one too and get this, even catcher Jonathan Lucroy stole a base–his fourth this season.
At some point the Bucs need to address this major flaw in their game. The second half pitching numbers stink, allowing runners to be in scoring position with very little resistance make them even worse. Perhaps Ray Searage needs some help? Not only are runners in scoring position, but the double play is out of the question as well which impacts the Pirates pitchers just as much.
The Brewers ran their way to a 6-0 victory.
The Pirates had the bases loaded twice and didn’t score, they did work four walks, but had just two hits in the first two thirds of the game. The offense had thirteen batters in a row retired at one point.
A.J. Burnett gave up seven hits, but allowed just two runs while striking out four and walking two. Burnett pulled a Houdini act to keep the Bucs close after allowing the leadoff runner to reach in five of the six innings. The bullpen was a failure once again.
What else bothers us, is despite having plus speed at numerous positions, the Bucs downright suck at the art of the steal.
We aren’t sure if it bothers anyone else, we haven’t read much about it, but it makes watching the Bucs about unbearable for me. You can’t tell me it isn’t demoralizing for the team either. The body language last night told all.
On our podcast, you will hear Tony Sanchez discuss the importance the pitcher plays in stolen base prevention.
Rod Barajas and Michael McKenry don’t exactly have cannons. The Pittsburgh Pirates pitching staff is even worse. Pirates GM Neal Huntington has talked about it, but it’s rather dismissive. The stolen bases shouldn’t impact a pitcher’s ability to focus on the batter. Huntington said he isn’t worried about the stolen base if the pitcher can’t focus on the hitter and allows a homer or key hit.
Um, can’t there be a middle ground?
All season Rod Barjas and the pitchers he has caught have been able to throw out six runners. Six. Roll that around on your tongue. Six.
All season Michael McKenry and the pitchers he has caught have been able to throw out eight runners. Eight.