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Cubs vs. Pirates: Series Breakdown

We at Fans From The Stands are utterly thankful for the Pirates’ day off today, because honestly, we don’t think we could take another putrid offensive performance like the one we saw yesterday, and pretty much all season to this point.

The Bucs were held to just one run yesterday against the New York Mets’ starter Jonathon Niese.  Not to take anything away from Niese’s performance yesterday at PNC Park, but it was less about his masterful delivery and more about the Pirates’ offensive inferiority.  This is a trend, and it has been a trend…since, well, April 5.

A few things to consider, just in the past month.  The Pirates have been outscored 84-68 in 22 games so far in May.  That’s an average of 3.8 runs to 3.09 per game.  Even more depressing, though, is that those averages include the first series of the month against the St. Louis Cardinals, in which the Bucs scored an unprecedented (for them, at least) 16 runs in three games.  Following that series, they have tallied just 52 runs in 19 games (2.7 runs per game).  They have been shut out three times, and have been held to two runs or less eight times this month.  Pathetic.

From full season’s perspective thus far, the Bucs are averaging 2.8 runs per game, hitting a mere .217 with only 35 homeruns.  Further, they are striking out four times as often as they are walking.  If that remains the ratio by season’s end, it will be the worst in the history of Major League Baseball.  Specifically, the worst players (statistically) this season have been those whom the team brought on board in hopes of sparking a struggling offense from a year ago.  Rod Barajas started the season embarrassingly bad, but has shown vast improvement in the past couple weeks.  But Clint Barmes and Nate McLouth have been beyond terrible, and for McLouth, his time in a Pirates’ uniform may be running out.

Earlier in the year, Pedro Alvarez began hitting the face off of the baseball, prompting Clint Hurdle to move him into the cleanup spot in an order that desperately needs power.  Since that time, Pedro has hit just .127.  Other than Andrew McCutchen, who the lone consistent offensive contributor, this offense is literally AWFUL.

Honestly…it is a near miracle that this team has a 20-24 record.

So given all the offensive woes, what could the Pirates use right now?  How about a three-game date with the N.L. Central basement-dwelling Chicago Cubs, who will be riding a nine-game losing streak against the Bucs at PNC Park tomorrow?

The Cubs are another young and promising team (at least on paper) that is vastly underperforming so far in 2012.  Starlin Castro is an up-and-coming star in the National League, leading the Cubs in batting average, RBI’s, and stolen bases.  And yes, they’ve lost nine straight games.  Let’s hope they don’t get back on the right track this weekend.

Cubs (15-29) vs. Pirates (20-24)

About The Cubs…

15-29 Record, 6th In N.L. Central

Last Series:  0-3 Series Sweep @ Houston Astros

Pitching Matchups:

5/25 – Ryan Dempster (CHI) (0-2, 2.28 ERA, 44 K, 14 BB, WHIP 1.06) vs. A.J. Burnett (PIT) (2-2, 4.78 ERA, 33 K, 10 BB, WHIP 1.33)

5/26 – Paul Maholm (CHI) (4-3, 4.73 ERA, 27 K, 12 BB, WHIP 1.20) vs. Kevin Correia (PIT) (1-5, 4.50 ERA, 16 K, 15 BB, WHIP 1.24)

5/27 – Matt Garza (CHI) (2-2, 3.72 ERA, 43 K, 18 BB, WHIP 1.12) vs. Erik Bedard (PIT) (2-5, 3.52 ERA, 48 K, 18 BB, WHIP 1.39)

Quotes From Both Sides:

[box_dark] “Every day they wipe it clean and come in every day expecting to play well and win.  It hasn’t happened.” [/box_dark]

          Acting Cubs’ manager Jamie Quirk on team’s nine-game losing streak

[box_dark] “You know, we’ve always kept an eye toward getting better internally and externally.  We never don’t look outside.  We’d like to think we’ve given time to some guys here to right some things.  You want to give that to guys who, on the back of their cards, shows they’ve done some good things.  But at this point in time, we’re…definitely looking to generate some more offense.  We’re open-minded to when and if or where we can get it.” [/box_dark]

          Clint Hurdle on team’s disappointing offensive production

With a 20-24 record and an offense that is stagnant and barely managing to push a run or two across the plate each time they take the field, the Pirates can ill afford to stumble this weekend against a struggling Cubs’ team.  This is a series that the Bucs need to win…at least two out of three games. 

Be sure to check back here for recaps and reactions to every Pirates’ game all season long, from us, the Fans From The Stands!


As Always…

Let’s Go Bucs!

Chad Carlson

Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands, Pirates' Beat Writer For Armchair Report, Sports writer for AMN, SteelTownRock And Music City Encore Editor

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