Pittsburgh Pirates: Offensive Woes Continue in Third Straight Loss
By Marty Leap
Thursday night in Atlanta the recent offensive woes of the Pittsburgh Pirates continued in a 3-1 loss against the Braves
Early in the day on Thursday, Noah wrote about the offensive woes of the Pittsburgh Pirates. As Noah pointed out, these issues were on full display as the team was swept by the Detroit Tigers despite receiving strong pitching.
Since May 1st the Pirate pitching staff has been among the best in the National League. However, due to poor offense the team as a whole has failed to capitalize. This theme continued in a 3-1 loss against the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night, as the Pittsburgh Pirates lost their 3rd game in a row to fall to 24-31 on the season.
Strong JT Brubaker started wasted
JT Brubaker has quietly been developing into a quality starting pitcher. Thursday night he turned in another strong start allowed 3 runs on 6 hits, 2 walks and 7 strikeouts in 7 innings pitched. Unfortunately, the team could not take advantage of this outing.
Throughout the night Brubaker did a nice job of keeping Brave hitter forms getting too comfortable in the box. He generated 16 swings-and-misses, and his slider continues to look like a pitch that is developing into a very good one.
What may have been most encouraging was Brubaker’s attitude. With two outs and two runners in the 7th, Derek Shelton came to the mound and it appeared that Brubaker’s night would be ended. Instead, Brubaker told Shelton he had one more batter in him and he was permitted to stay in the game. Brubaker rewarded Shelton by striking out Dansby Swanson to end the inning.
There are few instances when a manager would not sign up for a 7 inning pitched, 3 run outing from their starting pitcher. The Pirate offense needed to do more than they did on Thursday night to pick up Brubaker who pitched a strong game. Brubaker now has a 3.86 ERA and a 24% strikeout rate in his last 10 starts.
Jack Suwinski stays hot
Entering play on Thursday it was Jack Suwinski who led all National League rookies in home runs with 7. Suwinski added to this total when he hit a solo home run on Thursday night for the lone Pirate run of the game. Suwinski’s 8 home runs now tie him with Jeremy Peña of the Houston Astros for the most by any rookie in all of baseball.
Suwinski’s blast came off of a very good lefty in Max Fried. It was his 3rd home run of the season against a left-handed pitcher, which is tied for the second most by a rookie left-handed hitter in a season in Pirate history. Additionally, his 8 home runs are now tied for the 8th most in a season by a Pirate rookie before the All-Star Break. It’s safe to say these are both lists Suwinski will only continue to climb.
Pirate offense remains stuck in neutral
It was another frustrating night for the Pittsburgh Pirates offense.
In the 1st inning Ke’Bryan Hayes, Bryan Reynolds and Michael Chavis all singled, but due to Hayes being picked off on a steal attempt they did not score. The Pirates out hit the Braves 8-6, but were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left 5 runners on base.
Of the 8 Pirate hits 5 of them were collected between Hayes who had a pair of hits and Reynolds who had a 3 hit night. At least seeing a 3 hit night was a positive sign for Reynolds who is has had his fair share of struggles so far this season. Travis Swaggerty also had his first career hit.
Right now the Pirate offense simply has too many holes. They are getting little to no offense out of shortstop, catcher is essentially a black hole, and first base is problematic against right-handed pitching. If only the Pirates had power hitting prospects putting together strong seasons at Triple-A that could play shortstop and first base…
Game two of the series will see Roansy Contreras (1.93 ERA, 3.18 FIP) toe the rubber for the Pittsburgh Pirates as he continues to look to pitch his way into the NL Rookie of the Year conversation. Atlanta will counter with righty Spencer Strider (2.76 ERA, 2.19 FIP) who will make his 3rd MLB start. First pitch from Truist Park is scheduled for 7:20 PM ET.