Pittsburgh Pirates: Missed Opportunities Lead to Series Loss in Cincinnati
By Marty Leap
Issues with the offense
Any time you play a three-game series and score just 8 runs the odds of winning the series are pretty low. At a great hitter's park such as Great American Ballpark, which is likely the best hitter's park in baseball, those odds are even lower.
The Pirate offense had plenty of issues in this series, but the main two were a lack of home runs and wasted opportunities. Great American Ballpark is a place the ball flies out of. However, the only two home runs hit by the Pirates were the series were solo shots by Oneil Cruz in game one and Bryan Reynolds in game three. Meanwhile, the Reds hit six home runs in the series.
When the opposing team out homers you 6-2 in a series the odds of series victory are not very high. At a hitter's ballpark where the long ball is a necessity those odds are even lower. This was an issue for the Pirate offense in the series.
Wasted opportunities were also a major issue. In the 1st inning of their 6-2 loss in game two they had the bases loaded with two outs and Cincy starter Nick Lodolo on the ropes. Rodolfo Castro stepped to the plate and had a very poor at-bat that ended in a strikeout to end the inning with the Pirates only leading 1-0.
Trailing 3-1 in the 8th inning of game three on Sunday the Pirates had two men on base with zero outs and their 2-3-4 hitters due up. Given a golden opportunity to potentially tie the game or maybe even take the lead, the Pirates failed to even get a run across.
Last seaosn the Pirate offense was hsitorically bad with runners in scoring position. While it's only one series, thus far those problems have carried over to this season.
Even though they won game one, the Pirate offense was just 2-for-9 with RISP while leaving nine men on base. This effort was followed with a 3-for-7 with RISP while leaving seven men on base. They were then 0-for-8 with RISP on Sunday while leaving six runners on base. That's 5-for-24 with RISP in the series and 22 runners left on base. This is something that must improve, and hitting more home runs, which this lineup should do as the season goes on, would be a big step toward helping with solving that problem.