3 Takeaways From Pittsburgh Pirates Opening Series In Cincinnati

CINCINNATI, OH - MARCH 31: Keone Kela #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with Francisco Cervelli #29 after striking out the final batter in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on March 31, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Pirates won 5-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - MARCH 31: Keone Kela #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with Francisco Cervelli #29 after striking out the final batter in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on March 31, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Pirates won 5-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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CINCINNATI, OH – MARCH 31: Jung Ho Kang #16 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a double to left field in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on March 31, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Pirates won 5-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH – MARCH 31: Jung Ho Kang #16 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a double to left field in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on March 31, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Pirates won 5-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Pirates struggled to hit with runners in scoring position

It can be argued that the main reason the Pirates lost on Thursday was the failure to get the big hit. In a 5-3 loss, the team left 14 runners on base. This included going 1-for-5 with three walks with runners in scoring position.

The biggest letdown came when Corey Dickerson grounded out to second base to end the game. The reason it was such a letdown, despite battling to a 12-pitch at bat? It came with the bases loaded and the Pirates trailing by a pair. A base hit there would have at least tied the game.

On Sunday, the struggles with men on base continued. The team left 17 runners on base in their 5-0 victory, including leaving the bases loaded in both the 2nd and 3rd innings. Overall, the team was 3-for-12 with a hit by pitch and three walks with RISP. Dickerson and Erik Gonzalez each hit into a double play with RISP, too.

Hopefully this was an aberration for the Pirates and not a sign of things to come. In 2018 the Pirates were one of the worst teams in baseball when it came to batting with RISP. It is an area where there needs to be big improvements in 2019 in order for the team to return to the postseason.

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