LATEST PIRATES BUZZ
The Pirates are 14-18 at the 32 game mark and due to their woeful hitting ability as a team, they are fortunate to be 14-18.
The Pirates were shutout 1-0 last night to Houston and their night was highlighted by failing to score a run in the bottom of the sixth inning when they had the bases loaded with no outs and the top of the order up.
Jose Tabata struck out, Nate McLouth popped to second and Andrew McCutchen struck out with a check swing on a 2-2 slider.
The Pirates went on to manage just 4 hits in the game and Pirate batters struck out 11 times and walked ZERO TIMES. Pirate batters have now struck out 26 times in the last two games.
The Pirates dead last in the Majors in runs scored at 89, are averaging 2.78 runs per game, down significantly from last season when they averaged 3.77 runs per game and their current 2.78 run per game pace is about 35% below the league average of around 4.20 runs per game.
The next lowest amount of runs scored for a team in the National League is the San Diego Padres who have scored 105 runs.
A huge issue for the Pirates is their struggles to draw walks. The Pirates areÂ averaging just 2.16 walks per game with 69 walks in 32 games. Last season the Pirates averaged 3.02 walks per game, which ranked 18th in the Majors. This season they rank 30th in the Majors.
The Pirates on base percentage of .275 is last in the Majors along with their OPS (.616). For the Pirates to score runs, it starts with being aggressive on the base paths but also being efficient and that hasn’t been the case as the team has been caught stealing 13 times on 27 attempts, the third worst mark in the majors.
It had been well documented coming into the season that the Pirates were going to lack home run power with this lineup and that’s been the case.
Their top-4 four outfielders in Alex Presley (.239 – 2 HR – 7 RBI), Andrew McCutchen (.318 – 2 HR – 11 RBI), Jose Tabata (.241 – 1 HR – 5 RBI) and Nate McLouth (.186 – 0 HR – 2 RBI) have combined forÂ 5 home runs andÂ at the first base position Garrett Jones (.257 – 4 HR – 11 RBI) and Casey McGehee (.239 – 0 HR – 4 RBI) have combined for just four home runs.
As a team the Pirates have 22 home runs. Texas Josh Hamilton has 18 home runs.
— James McDonald (2-2, 2.42 ERA) has become the biggest development for the Pirates through the first six weeks of the season. He’s the only pitcher on the staff who hasn’t reached his ceiling and he’s starting to show that he might finally get it on what it takes to go out every five or six days to get the job done as he’s put together four straight impressive starts.
McDonald leads the Pirates with a 2.42 ERA and has 33 strikeouts in his last four starts and leads the team with 39 strikeouts overall.
— Pedro Alvarez (.209 – 7 HR – 15 RBI) is coming off an 0-3 night with three strikeouts against the Astros Friday night. Alvarez since being put in the cleanup spot, is now 0-18 with 8 strikeouts and 5 walks. The move in the lineup hasn’t led to immediate results but manager Clint Hurdle is doing the right thing by putting Alvarez right back in the No. 4 spot and not going away from his plan.
–Â Hurdle continues to show signs of losing faith in LF Alex Presley (.239 – 2 HR – 7 RBI) as he won’t be in the lineup again tonight. Scouts feel Presley is starting to be exposed a bit. The hope inside the organization had been if Presley took a step back, Nate McLouth would be able to step in and have a resurgence in Pittsburgh but McLouth is falling right in lineÂ with Rod Barajas and Clint Barmes as fading veterans in a Pirates uniform.
— Casey McGehee had 23 home runs in 2010 but has just 13 home runs, (includingÂ 0 this season) in his last 622 at-bats, dating back to October 2, 2010.
— Brad Lincoln will start Monday as Erik Bedard’s start has been pushed back.
TONIGHT’S LINEUP vs HOUSTON
1. Jose Tabata, LF (.241 – 1 HR – 5 RBI)
2. Neil Walker, 2B (.280 – 1 HR – 11 RBI)
3. Andrew McCutchen, CF (.318 – 2 HR – 11 RBI)
4. Pedro Alvarez, 3B (.209 – 7 HR – 15 RBI)
5. Casey McGehee, 1B (.239 – 0 HR – 4 RBI)
6. Yamaico Navarro, RF (.207 – 1 HR – 4 RBI)
7. Clint Barmes, SS (.158 – 2 HR – 5 RBI)
8. Michael McKenry (.206 – 1 HR – 1 RBI)
9. Charlie Morton, P