Shorthanded Pirates Slide Continues
By Tom Smith
Aug 18, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Starling Marte (6) is greeted at home plate by third baseman Brent Morel (59) after Marte hit a solo home run against the Atlanta Braves during the second inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
In front of over 30,000 fans, the Pittsburgh Pirates lost in a fresh, new way last night. Vance Worley was battered in the first inning, but stuck around to strike out eight and even ripped a double at the plate. But in the end it was too little too late as the Atlanta Braves took the series opener with a 7-3 win.
Aug 18, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Vance Worley (46) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the second inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The bullpen had nothing to really do with the loss. Although Jeanmar Gomez continued to look flat, loading the bases before getting the hook. John Axford came in and cleaned up the mess allowing just a deep sacrifice fly to right field.
Aug 18, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker (18) turns a double play over Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) during the sixth inning at PNC Park. The Braves won 7-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Bad news: The defense continued to look poor which has been a big part of the Pirates struggles in 2014. However, it’s tough to even critique the defense as players are playing more positions than the skinny guy on the company softball team.
The starting pitching of Vance Worley took another tumble this after being hit hard by the Tigers in his last start.
Great news: Starling Marte stayed insanely hot since taking over for Andrew McCutchen. Also, we can assume that as the team gets healthier, Marte will never have to fist bump Brent Morel after hitting a homer. Ever.
Andrew McCutchen returns tonight, but the thing is, the Pirates offense really hasn’t been the problem. We count 61 Pirates runs scored since August 5th. Travis Snider has been consistent. Marte is scorching.
Aug 10, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) plays catch on the field before playing the San Diego Padres at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
But when the schedule turns to the dog days of August, the team needs to be playing their best baseball. The Pirates, as a whole, simply can’t. The roster wasn’t deep enough and nobody in the front office seemed to be too worried about it. Now, Cutch returns, but isn’t one hundred percent. Tomorrow, Gerrit Cole returns, but isn’t one hundred percent.
The losing streak is at six. The club is in a slide, now 7-10 in the separating month of August, but nobody that can change the roster seems to worried about. It’s a damn shame for those 30,000 plus fans who keep showing up expecting a different result.