The Pittsburgh Pirates were within 2.5 games of the NL Central lead heading into the All-Star Break. However, things have quickly gone south.
One of the big questions coming out of the All-Star Break was whether the Pittsburgh Pirates would-be buyers or sellers at this year’s trade deadline. The Bucs ended the “first half” on a strong note and climbed to within 2.5 games of the division lead.
It seemed like the Bucs could look to be buyers, especially if they came out of the All-Star Break playing as they did before the break. They had two big series to start the “second half” with the Chicago Cubs and then the St. Louis Cardinals. These two series would be a big determination of what the Bucs would need to do.
Things have not gone well what so ever. The Pittsburgh Pirates wasted their best chance during the first game of the series against the Bucs. Chris Archer had a strong start, but the team still lost 4-3. They then got blown out on Saturday 10-4 and saw Jordan Lyles pitch one of the worst games of the year. He did not even make it out of the first inning after walking four hitters. He was charged with seven earned runs and set up an easy win for the Cubs.
The same could be said for the last game in Chicago. Trevor Williams started the game and only gave up two runs over the first four innings. However, he blew up in the fifth and sixth innings, giving up another six runs. The Bucs lost 8-3. Then last night, the Pittsburgh Pirates started their series against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Pirates must have left their bats in Chicago because they got shutout by a score of 7-0. The Cardinals starter, Miles Mikolas, pitched a complete game.
To say the least, the Pittsburgh Pirates have come out of the All-Star Break a little flat. The team has been outscored 29-10 in their first four games. The starting pitching has been bad and the bats have not provided nearly enough offense. The Pittsburgh Pirates are now tied for last place with the Reds in the division and are 5.5 games out.
This is not that big of a gap, but the team has way too many question marks going forward. The starting rotation is in shambles right now; Lyles should not start another game, Musgrove and Williams have regressed in recent starts, and Archer has been the most inconsistent of them all. Meanwhile, there is not a ton of logical candidates that the Bucs would look to acquire in a trade. The team is not going to pay the high price for a rental like Madison Bumgarner and likely will not want to make another blockbuster after making one last season.
With that being said, the team shouldn’t make a move to add. While there are still a few weeks before the trade deadline, teams seem to be acting a little sooner this year. If the Bucs continue to struggle against the Cardinals, the team may believe themselves to be sellers. They have plenty of trade pieces that are on expiring deals and wouldn’t impact the team in 2020.