Right now the Pittsburgh Pirates are stuck in one of the worst offensive slumps in franchise history, leading to a 2-12 record in their last 14 games
This is unacceptable. On so many levels this is unacceptable. The Pittsburgh Pirates have gone from being 20-8, owning the best record in the National League and flying sky high, to every game having a feeling that they have no chance of winning unless Mitch Keller is starting and pitching a shutout.
Tuesday night the Pirates started a two-game series in Detroit with a 4-0 loss against the Tigers. With the loss, the Pirates are now 2-12 in their last 14 games played and 22-20 overall. Not only is a 2-12 stretch unaccpetable, the fact the team is doing NOTHING to attempt to help this team is unacceptable.
Hell, that is more than unacceptable. It's unbelievable. This offense is in dire need of a spark, yet a pair of top 100 prospects that are swining a hot bat in the upper minors are still there, the upper minors. Oh, did I mention they can help at catcher at first base? The two positions the team needs offensive help at the most.
Unacceptable. Unbelievable. Yet, here we are.
Luis Ortiz struggles
In his second MLB start of the season highly touted pitching prospect Luis Ortiz struggled. Ortiz allowed 2 runs in the 1st inning, and it was the start of Ortiz allowing 4 runs while pitching just 3 innings.
Ortiz relief far too heavily on his changeup and slider in the start. He did not use his four-seamed fastball or power sinker nearly enough. He also committed a throwing error on a pick off attempt and threw a wild pitch that allowed a runner to score from third.
While Ortiz generated 10 swings-and-misses in the start, he did show why he started in the season in the minors. Ortiz allowed 4 runs, 3 earned due to his own error, on seven hits, four walks, and three strikeouts.
Ortiz was struggling with command which played a role in his pitch selection. He also saw a drop in velocity, which may have been from him trying to locate pitches more. His mechanics were not always consistent, either.
He has a very high ceiling, but Ortiz is showing that he is far from a finished product. He's showing why he started the season in the minors, and that it is far from a guarantee that his long-term major league home is in the starting rotation.
Pirate offense stuck in a historically poor slump
Right now the Pirate offense is historically bad. That is not hyperbole, either. Trust me, we all wish that it was. No, right now, the Pirate offense is stuck in one of the worst slumps in the franchise's long history.
This loss marked the 14th consecutive game in which the Pirates had eight hits or less. This is the longest such stretch for the Pirates since at least 1901. They have scored 4 runs or less in all 14 of those games, have been shutout three times, and have scored a total of just 22 runs. These 22 runs the least for a Major League Baseball team in 14 game stretch in two years. It is also the lowest offnesive output in a 14 game stretch in franchise history.
Tucupita Marcano at least showed some anger, passion, and heart at the end of the game when he was called out on a strikes on a pitch well below the strike zone. Marcano went ballistic and was ejected, even though the game was already over, by home plate umpire Paul Emmel. It was nice to see someone be angry, and show some emotion, heart, and passion. That's not something that can be said about anyone in the fornt office or coaching staff sans Derek Shelton's blow up in Tampa Bay.
Something MUST change
Something must be done at this point. The Pirates started 20-8 and have wasted that start. Sure, no one expected this team to compete this season. However, when you start 20-8 in a division that is the worst in baseball, expectations need to change.
Ben Cherington needs to stop sititng on his hands refusing to help this roster. Henry Davis should not take another at-bat in the minors. His next at-bat should be anywhere other than in the majors. Austin Hedges is supposedly some defensive expert, not that Pirate fans have seen that at all this season, but he could not hit water if he jumped off the Clemente Bridge. It's time for Davis to take over behind the plate.
Also, why on Earth is Andy Haines still employed? Christian Yelich and the Brewers ran him out of Milwaukee for a reason. No hitting coach should survive a historically poor stretch like this, but especially a hitting coach like Haines who has proven nothing in their career.
The Pittsburgh Pirates will have a tall task ahead of them on Wednesday afternoon at Comerica Park. Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (1.57 ERA, 3.07 FIP) who has been terrific this season will start for the Tigers. Rich Hill (4.35 ERA, 5.02 FIP) is slated to start for the Pirates. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM ET.