The Pittsburgh Pirates offense is currently in one hell of a funk
In the game of baseball when a team pitches well they typically win more games than they lose. Over the course of their last nine games (80 innings pitched) the Pittsburgh Pirates have allowed just 25 runs, which, in most instances, would lead to them having won six or seven of these nine games.
However, the Pirate offense is currently stuck in a horrific rut. Following Tuesday night’s 6-1 loss, the Pirates have scored just 16 runs in these nine games. This loss also dropped the team’s record below .500 again at 63-64.
Ivan Nova started for the Pirates on Tuesday night and turned in yet another strong start.
Nova retired the first nine batters he faced and kept the Braves off the board for the first 4 innings. Nova knew he was pitching with zero wiggle room on Tuesday night, and he posted the zeroes he needed for most of his start.
In the top of the 5th inning Nova would crack. Atlanta shortstop Dansby Swanson hit his first of a pair of two-run home runs. Swanson’s first blast gave the Braves a 2-0 lead and it would be more than enough runs for Atlanta.
In 6 innings pitched he allowed just Swanson’s home run, he did not walk a batter, and he struck out four. In what has become a trend lately, Nova’s strong outing was wasted by a lack of Pirate offense.
The past nine games the Pirate starting pitcher has been excellent. Bucco starters have allowed just 14 earned runs in 47 2/3 innings pitched. Unfortunately, it has mostly been wasted due to pitiful offensive performances.
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Facing average at best starting pitcher Kevin Gausman the Pirates put a threat together in the bottom of the 2nd inning.
Josh Bell singled, Francisco Cervelli walked, and the Bucs had two men on with no outs. After a Colin Moran fielder’s choice, the Pirates had runners on the corners with no one out. Gausman then cracked down getting Adeiny Hechavarria to hit into an inning-ending double play.
The bottom of the 6th inning saw the Pirates put together another threat.
Michael Feliz pitched for the first time since being recalled from Triple-A in the top of the 7th inning and Feliz showed why he was optioned to the minors. As part of a three-run inning from the Braves, Feliz allowed Swanson’s second two-run home run of the evening making the score 5-0 Braves.
With the way the Pirate offense has gone lately, 5-0 felt more like 50-0.
Clay Holmes was recalled on Tuesday afternoon and pitched the 8th and 9th inning for the Pirates. After posting a zero in the 8th inning, he allowed a run in the 9th when he uncorked a wild pitch with the bases loaded and two outs.
Polanco led off the bottom of the 9th with his 20th home run of the season. Polanco’s laser shot over the Clemente Wall got the Pirates on the board and made Polanco the fifth right fielder in Pirate history to hit 20 home runs in a season.
The Pirate offense is currently stuck in possibly the worst funk I have ever witnessed. Combine this with the inconsistencies of the Pirate offense in recent years and there is no reason for Jeff Branson to remain employed as the Pirate hitting coach. But mentioning that is nothing short of beating a dead horse at the point.
The third and final game of this series is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday night. Trevor Williams (3.53 ERA, 4.30 FIP) who suddenly has the 10th lowest ERA in the National League will look to get the Pirates back to .500, while longtime Pirate killer Julio Teheran (4.24 ERA, 5.16 FIP) will get the ball for the Braves. Teheran has had major issues with control (11.7% walk rate) and home runs (1.55 HR/9) this season, so, hopefully, these problems will continue on Wedensday.