The Pittsburgh Pirates were shut out by the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on Tuesday night by a 4-0 score. This marked the second consecutive shutout loss to their divisional foes, falling to 0-5 against them to start the season. This also marks the eighth consecutive loss for the Bucs, who have fallen to fourth place in the N.L. Central division.
As is the case with any extended slump, there have been a number of culprits including the lack of timely hitting, starting pitching, bullpen issues, and defense. However, the past two games against the Cubs, the total lack of offense is to blame.
Johan Oviedo started for Pittsburgh, delivering a solid start on the mound. Despite falling to 3-7 on the season and suffering the loss, he turned in a quality start, giving up two runs on five hits with three strikeouts in six innings. Unfortunately, he had zero offensive support and his bullpen (Dauri Moreta) gave up a pair of runs later in the game to remove any doubt of the outcome.
The Bucs couldn’t solve Cubs’ starter Marcus Stroman on Tuesday, who improved to 9-4 while lowering his ERA to 2.28 for the season. He gave up five hits and a walk with five strikeouts in seven innings, and was able to pitch out of a couple jams in the earlier innings.
Tucker Barnhart’s solo homerun in the third inning broke a scoreless tie, and a sacrifice fly by Cody Bellinger in the fourth made it 2-0 Chicago. With the way the Pirates’ offense has looked recently, even though those runs seemed insurmountable. But just for good measure, Chicago added a pair of runs in the eighth inning on a solo homerun by Mike Tauchman and a sacrifice fly by Seiya Suzuki.
Their lengthy losing streak coupled with winning streaks by the other teams in the N.L. Central has led to the Pirates, amazingly, falling from first place to fourth place in the division in a matter of days.
Pittsburgh will look to snap their losing streak and avoid a third consecutive series sweep when they take the field on Wednesday afternoon at PNC Park. Kyle Hendricks will be on the mound for the Cubs against Rich Hill for the Bucs. First pitch is slated for 12:35pm.
Record vs. Cubs: 0-5
Record vs. N.L. Central: 10-12
Record at Home: 18-18
Overall Record: 34-38
Let’s Go Bucs!