The Pittsburgh Pirates Need To Fire Jeff Branson
By Marty Leap
The Pirate offense is stuck in a major rut and someone needs to be held accountable
Dating back to Sunday, August 12th the Pittsburgh Pirates have played 10 games. In these 10 games their pitching staff has allowed just 28 earned runs in 88 innings of work. With pitching performances like this the team should be 6-4 or 7-3 in these games.
Unfortunately, the Pirates have gone just 2-8 in these games. This slide has effectively ended the team’s postseason hopes while also dropping them back under .500 on the season at 63-65. The reason the Pirates are just 2-8 in these games? The team’s offense.
During this 10 game stretch the Pirates have managed to cross home plate just 16 times. This includes being shutout three times and scoring just one run twice. Over the course of their last 69 innings, the team has scored just seven runs.
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Ruts like this will happen in baseball. So, sometimes, calling for a firing over it can be overreacting. However, offense has been an issue for the Pirates throughout the season. Entering play on Friday the team ranks 10th in the National League in runs scored and 12th in home runs, and offensive struggles are nothing new to the Pirates.
Since the start of the 2016 season the team once again checks in at 10th in the NL in runs scored and 12th in home runs. During this time once highly touted prospects such as Austin Meadows, Gregory Polanco, and Josh Bell all experienced their fair share of inconsistencies with the Pirates. Although, to his credit, Polanco appears to have figured things out.
All of this adds up to a change needing to be made, and that change is firing hitting coach Jeff Branson. The Pirate offensive philosophy is not working. Some of this falls at the feet of manager Clint Hurdle and some falls at the feet of Branson.
For the past three seasons the Pirate offense has not been good enough. The time has come for someone to be held accountable for this because it has been made quite obvious that the current offensive philosophy is not working.
Odds are, Hurdle is going nowhere. But changes are needed on his coaching staff and it starts with the firing of Branson.