One positive to take away from the Pirates loss to the Rockies

Colorado Rockies v Pittsburgh Pirates
Colorado Rockies v Pittsburgh Pirates / Pamela Smith/GettyImages

The Pittsburgh Pirates had not scored since game 2 of the Oakland Series before the 9th inning of last night's game against the Rockies. The hottest topic regarding the Pirates currently is this abysmal offensive effort over the last few weeks. An extension of that conversation questions why Andy Haines, the team's hitting coach, is still employed. The same guy who was fired by the division rival Milwaukee Brewers after the 2021 season.

The biggest knock on Haines is that the Pirates hitters are taking too many pitches and striking out way too much. However, the problems go beyond stats. Also, he has not made a single hitter better on this team.

Bryan Reynolds has regressed each season that Haines has been here for. Reynolds was an all-star in 2021, batting just over .300 and posting an OPS over .900. Since the arrival of Haines Reynolds has seen his batting average dip nearly 40 points, batting .262 in 2022, and .263 in 2023. This year he is on pace for a similar stat line as he currently is batting around .250. His OPS has declined by 100 points each year as well under Haines.

The same can be said about Oneil Cruz. The once, promising, can't miss prospect has looked rather lost at the plate this season. He has struck out 47 times in just 33 total games, which says all you need to know about how his season is going. In general, Cruz looks to be lacking confidence at the plate.

Despite the Pirates losing to the Rockies, there was a small piece of good news that came from the game.

After being shut out the first 8 innings, the Pirates watched Oneil Cruz unload on a ball that would end up in the Allegheny River:

There was a lot to like about this homer. Could this homerun spark Oneil Cruz? There are a lot of reasons to think it could. Obviously, he crushed the ball, making the game potentially winnable, being a 2-run shot. Also, he was down in the count 0-2 against a lefty. Maybe, just maybe Cruz will get going, and when he gets into his zone he can carry an offense on his own.