The Florida Marlins (11-6) put on another thumping Thursday night, defeating the Pirates 9-5 for a three game series sweep.
The Pirates were outscored 21-5 in the series, after being shutout in the first two games.
Pittsburgh has fallen to 8-11 on the season after taking 3 out of 4 from the Cincinnati Reds to get back to .500. They begin a homestand with the Washington Nationals Friday night.
— One of the major concerns for the Pirates going into the season was their starting pitching and those concerns were front and center against the Marlins.
In the series, Pirate starters posted a 15.43 ERA in 11 2/3 innings.
James McDonald (0-2, 10.13 ERA) lasted just three innings, allowing 6 hits and 8 runs. McDonald has only lasted more than 4 2/3 innings once out of four starts this season.
What the Pirates brass has to ponder is whether to let McDonald try to work through his struggles or send him down to the minors. The minors might have been the best option going into the season due to McDonald not being at full strength to open the season.
McDonald’s velocity is not where it was last season, as his fastball is sitting in the 91-92 mph range. Last year it sat in the 95 mph range.
GM Neal Huntington entered the season with what is said an open mind on the Pirates starting rotation and Huntington is said to be actively looking to make some moves at this early stage of the season.
At this point, Internally Brad Lincoln is the only real option down in Indianapolis but the Pirates have wanted him to get a few more starts before bringing him backup with the big club.
— Pedro Alvarez broke out of his offensive slump with a 3-4 night, HR, 2 RBI’s and a double. He had solid at-bats and tonight was a solid step in the right direction for Alvarez.
— What is going on with Andrew McCutchen? McCutchen was 0-5 at the plate with 2 strikeouts. He is batting .212 on the season and since the Pirates home opener, McCutchen is batting .146, a span of 47 at-bats, courtesy of David Todd, host of Pirates post-game show.
McCutchen has struck out 12 times in his last 25 at-bats.
— The Marlins 6-8 hitters, went a combined 5-9 with 8 RBI’s.