*Rumblings, Musings, Opinions*
1. In 2014 the Pirates ranked second in the National League with a .333 on-base percentage, first in walks (520) and fourth with 682 runs scored. The Pirates also ranked fourth among N.L. teams with 461 extra-base hits.
2. Entering tonight’s game vs Cincinnati, the Pirates are bottom-5 in the Majors in runs, 26th in the Majors in Batting average (.226), 27th in walks (58), 29th in on-base percentage (.280) and 29th in Slugging percentage (.344). Starling Marte is the Pirates only starter (regular) who is hitting above .220 during the Pirates last eight games (1-7 record). This is nearly the same team as last season minus Russell Martin and Travis Snider.
3. The key area of struggles for the Pirates is they don’t walk. Wednesday’s 3-0 loss to the Reds marked the 10th time this season the Pirates failed to walk in a game.

Last year the Pirates went without a walk in just eight games out of 162.

4. When contending teams go through stretches like the Pirates where they are putrid at the plate, some start looking at the hitting coach and you’ll even see the hitting coach become the fall guy. Hard to put blame on Jeff Branson who had great results last year in replacing Jay Bell when nearly nobody improved under Bell in 2013. This is a player problem more so than anything. Almost all of the key players struggling are established players.
5. A.J. Burnett (0-1, 1.45) looks to end the Pirates skid tonight. Burnett who has a 1.32 ERA in five starts, is also looking for his first win of the season. Burnett has received the least amount of run support of all NL pitchers this season, 1.45 runs per game. With three strikeouts tonight, Burnett would become the 41st pitcher with 2,400 career strikeouts. Among active pitchers, Burnett is second to CC Sabathia (2,466).