The Pittsburg Pirates are four games out of first place and are ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals. Their rotation has been excellent and should hold up (probably with some regression) with A.J. Burnett, James McDonald, and Erik Bedard leading the charge. But the offense. Oh, the offense. It is so bad. Here’s a little sample of how the Pirates are doing as a team.
6 shut outs.
13 1-run games.
Dead last in runs scored, OBP, slugging, and strikeout percentage.
29th in batting average and walk percentage.
It gets worse. The Pirates only have three players batting over .250. Only five hitting above .230. There are only three Pirates with an OBP above .300. Only 6 players have double digit walks. There are nine players who have a strikeout rate of at least 20 percent. They are striking out in 23 percent of their at bats and hitting .228/.283/.368 as a team.
Needless to say, it’s bad. Very bad.
And it isn’t going to get better any time soon. Outfielder Starling Marte is at AAA, but isn’t necessarily lighting things up with a .264/.322/.442 line. Josh Bell is doing fine at A, but has walked only twice in 62 ABs with a .274/.288/.403 line. Other hitters in their system are putting up similarly unimpressive lines, except for second baseman Alex Hanson, who is hitting .316/.377/.561 as a 19-year-old at A ball. In other words, help for a struggling offense isn’t exactly knocking on the door.
An offense like this isn’t playoff caliber, even in a season with an extra playoff team. Expect Pittsburgh to fall to the wayside and get passed by the Cardinals, and probably the Brewers as well.