Pittsburgh Pirates: Team in Dire Need of Starting Pitching, More Takeaways From Series Loss

Takeaways from the Pirates four-game series at PNC Park against the Cubs

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Ji Hwan Bae's struggles return

In his return from the injured list second baseman/center fielder Ji Hwan Bae had a strong return series against the Minnesota Twins. However, in the two series played since then, Bae has looked more like the hitter he has been for most of the season, and that is not a good thing.

Bae led off Sunday's game with a double and came around to score a run, but he struck out in his other three trips to the plate. For the series, Bae was 2-for-11 with a walk, the aforementioned double, and five strikeouts.

Dating back to the previous series against St. Louis, Bae is 3-for-16. This 3-for-16 skid includes just three walks, the one extra base hit (Sunday's double), and six strikeouts. With these struggles, Bae's on-base percentage has dropped to .309, his OPS is just .620, and his wRC+ is a woeful 70.

More and more, Bae is looking like a utility player at best in the majors. Even that may prove to be a bit of a stretch. Between injuries, players struggling, and lack of options Bae will likely play on a near daily basis for the remainder of the season, but that can not continue to be the case in 2024.