Pirates Offense: It's Lack of Hits, Not Strikeouts That's Concerning

David Copperfield has turned the Pittsburgh Pirates offense into his latest commercial.   It’s been jaw dropping watch the Pirates bats struggle over the past few weeks, but just how bad has it been?

We took a quick look at the last seven games and saw what we thought we would see.   We went back two weeks and were even more surprised.

None of these players are even hitting .200:

Starling Marte, Russell Martin, Travis Snider, Garrett Jones, Clint Barmes and Brandon Inge.

Marte has a .255 OPS the past two weeks, Martin is worse than that, Barmes has a .206 over the past two weeks.  It’s vanished.

But then we went back to the last thirty games.  A months worth of work……

Some of the players have over or near 100 at-bats worth of work in this time period.  The fact that the Pirates are winning ballgames with this paltry production is pretty cool–but as we all know not something that can possibly continue.  Let’s take a quick look.

Jose Tabata leads the way.  He has been on the disabled list with a bad oblique and also had a root canal.

Josh Harrison.  He’s back in Triple-A.

Andrew McCutchen is doing what we thought he would do.  The strikeouts spiked over the past two weeks, but ten walks is a nice turn to see as are eight bags in ten attempts.  It’s difficult to say this, but Cutch doesn’t seem to be locked in as of yet which is a good thing we guess.

That’s where the averages being over .300, no matter how small the sample size, end.

Alex Presley had a couple nice games.  The Bucs used him wisely and then sent him back to AAA Indy.

Neil Walker comes in at number five over the last 30 games.

Remember that hot start for Marte?  Yeh.  It’s gone.  Russell Martin has been really bad.    You get the picture.


The team is striking out more, the at-bats aren’t real pretty and the plate appearances have been so poor it looks like they are all pressing a button that most teams try to avoid.  Sawdust is coming out of the bats and when asked about some of the struggles such as strikeouts, Hurdle has replied, ‘it’s a league wide epidemic.’

Hurdle is right of course, we wrote about it before in this post:  Are Strikeouts The Global Warming Of Major League Baseball?

But the Pirates are a team that needs to figure it out, before that ten game cushion disappears.

It’s not the strikeouts that really concern me though if you remember the article.   The A’s won 94 games while leading the league in strikeouts.

The Astros played solid baseball down the stretch after a pitiful start.  In fact the team won more games without Wandy Rodriguez than the Pirates did with him.  The Astros were the worst team in baseball while finishing second in strikeouts.

The Pirates finished third in strikeouts.  But if you remember the Pirates were 16 games over .500 at 63-47 as late as August 8.  Ahh, nevermind, just nevermind.  You remember what happened to the Pirates in 2012.

The Washington Nationals won 98 games while finishing fourth in the league in strikeouts.  The Tampa Bay Rays won 90 games and finished fifth in strikeouts.

The Pirates hitting is what concerns me.  The simple ability for the team to get a hit consistently.  The team gets less than five hits in a game far too often.

The team has just 467 hits this season.  That’s good enough for 26th out of the 30 teams in baseball.  The Cardinals have 545.  The Reds have 517.

Maybe it’s the schedule.  Maybe it’s the pitchers the Bucs have faced.

Maybe it’s just the Pirates.  But the vanishing act needs to end, and end quickly.


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