Pittsburgh Pirates Wake-Up Call: Dark Times


Welcome to the Pittsburgh Pirates Wake-Up Call, a daily feature here at RumBunter.com. Every morning at 9 AM, one of us will give you our random thoughts on the goings-on around the Pirates’ organization, and we’ll throw out a few links to some good Pirates-related items your way from around the web as well.

Pirates struggling against big-name pitchers

In the span of the past few days we have seen the Pittsburgh Pirates go up against some big-name pitchers. Facing Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta,  Zack Greinke in rapid succession can provide a challenge to any ball club. The Pirates offense has been inept against these stars to say the least.

More from Rum Bunter

Oh, and they still have to face the ever-dangerous Clayton Kershaw.

Coupled with the loss of Jung Ho Kang, the past week in Pirates baseball represents one of the team’s darkest stretches in 2015. The Chicago Cubs are breathing down the Pirates’ collective neck as the lead for home-field advantage in a potential wild card has dwindled to just one game.

How can the Pirates turn things around? For one, they can #scoremoreruns. In those games against Lester, Arrieta, and Greinke, the Pirates’ lineup was easily stymied. This could be a tall order to ask in immediacy for a team that is still finding its way. As I told our friend Josh Taylor from Trib Live Radio in my weekly appearance, these first two games against the Dodgers will tell us a lot about Clint Hurdle‘s plans going forward. Yesterday we saw both Aramis Ramirez and Pedro Alvarez in against a right-hander. Going up against a southpaw tonight, I’ll be very curious to see the lineup card.

The back end of the rotation continues to be a sore spot

After two starts in which he allowed just one earned run in each, Jeff Locke reverted to his bad habits, needing 96 pitches to get through 6.1 innings while allowing four earned runs. Chris Stewart did him no favors, with his error (The Pirates’ 114th, “good” for worst in all of Major League Baseball) leading directly to a run in the first inning.

For a team that needs to get back to winning in a hurry, it is absolutely imperative that Locke and Charlie Morton give the team more than they currently are. If they do not, they may force Hurdle’s hand to deviate from his plans to give rest to other starters down the road.

Pirates talk on the web

MLB.com has the initial reaction from Hurdle to the Kang injury.

The latest Tribune Review Pirates notebook sees Hurdle calling for a change of rules following the international incident.

Next: Gerrit Cole is now relying on a new mix of pitches