Despite four excellent starting pitching performances the Pittsburgh Pirates lost three of four in their series against the Marlins
The tailspin continues for the Pittsburgh Pirates. On the morning of April 30th, the Pirates were a National League best 20-8. Since then, despite playing in the worst division in the NL, the Pirates are a woeful 15-34 over the past 8 weeks.
A 15-34 record is a 49-113 pace. That's right, the Pirates have played at a 49-113 pace for the past 8 weeks. Remember, before this 8 week stretch began they owned the best record in the National League. Woof.
Pittsburgh's latest struggles came with them losing three of four to the Marlins in Miami. With these losses, the Bucs are now 1-12 in their last 13 games. They are now 35-42 on the season and 10-12-1 in series played. When their 1-12 slide started the Pirates were in first place in the NL Central, they are now 8.0 games behind the first-place Cincinnati Reds.
Losing three of four to the Marlins can not be blamed on the starting pitching. With the team struggle and the bullpen overworked and taxed, the starting rotation needed to step up. Pirate starters did not just step up, they went above and beyond against the Marlins. However, the rest of the team let them down.
Game one on Thursday night saw Pirate ace Mitch Keller dominate the Marlins. Keller allowed just 1 run on five hits, no walks, and five strikeouts in 7 innings pitched. However, the offense got just seven base runners and failed to record a hit with runners in scoring position. Dauri Moreta and Carmen Mlodzisnki combined to allow 5 runs in an 8th inning bullpen meltdown, and the Bucs lost 6-4.
Luis Ortiz started game two and turned in arguably the best start of his young MLB career. In 8 innings pitched, Ortiz allowed a run on seven hits, two walks, and five strikeouts. A 3-run top of the 9th inning helped propel the Pirates to their lone victory of the series. Despite the win, the lineup was just 2-for-7 with RISP.
Saturday's loss was a hodgepodge of struggles. The bullpen failed to hold a lead and then blew a tied game in the 11th. Pirate batters went a miserable 2-for-17 with RISP and left 11 men on base. All of this added up to waste Osvaldo Bido turning in yet another strong start. Bido allowed just 2 runs on nine hits, no walks, a home run, and five strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched.
Sunday afternoon Johan Oviedo shoved. In 7 innings pitched, the only run he allowed was a solo home run while he struck out. six. However, Ryan Borucki allowed a run while getting just one out in the 8th inning and the Pirates were shut out.
In total, Pirate starting pitchers allowed 5 runs in 27.2 innings pitched in this series. Other than Bido, who had a strong start of his own, each starter allowed just 1 run while pitching at least 7 innings. The starting pitchers have every right to be furious with the rest of the team.
The bullpen was only tasked with pitching 7.2 innings in this series, and that included a pair of extra innings. Pirate relievers allowed 8 runs across 7.2 innings pitched this series. Another really poor series for the bullpen.
The biggest issue in this series for the Pirates was the offense. Across the four games the Pirate collected just 23 hits in 38 innings. When they did get runners on base they often times failed to come through, going 4-for-28 with RISP and leaving 26 runners on base.
In recent weeks the Pirates have been finding a variety of ways to lose baseball games. This past weekend in Miami the team's starting pitching was good enough to not just win the series but sweep it. However, poor bullpen work and even worse offense sunk the Pirates in a series loss.