Watching the Pittsburgh Pirates’ most recent collapse can make you sick to your stomach. However, watching them attempt to hit with runners in scoring position can make a person even sicker.
There are many reasons for the Bucs going only 14-29 in their past 43 contests, but hitting with runners in scoring position has to be at the top of that list. That by no means lets the pitching or the defense off the hook, but had the Bucs been able to perform just a little bit better with men on base, then this total collapse may have been prevented altogether.
Take this most recent seven-game skid and despite going 3-for-10 Friday afternoon against the Cubs, the Bucs still have managed to only get 11 hits in their last 58 at bats with RISP. If you’re scoring at home, that’s a .189 average.
That also includes hits that don’t bring in runs, like Andrew McCutchen’s swinging bunt against the Reds this week.
Take that back even further and examine the Pirates past 13 games, beginning with the series opener against the Brewers Aug. 31, and you have a team that has only 24 hits in 125 at bats (.192) with RISP.
To put it kindly, that’s just not getting the job done.
On the season the Bucs are 28th in the majors with RISP with only a .258 average, thanks in large part to a big June and July. The numbers look worse when you consider RISP and two outs as the Bucs have only a .223 average in those situations.
So who has been the culprit as of late?
Try pretty much everyone as really only Gaby Sanchez (3-for-5 in last seven games) has been effective with men on base as of late.
Here is a breakdown of the Pirates RISP struggles in the past 13 games:
Clint Barmes: 1-for-5
Gaby Sanchez: 5-for-9
Alex Presley: 1-for-8
Michael McKenry: 1-for-5
Brock Holt: 4-for-8
Jeff Clement: 1-for-2
Pedro Alvarez: 2-for-21
Chase d’Arnaud: 0-for-1
Rod Barajas: 1-for-6
Garrett Jones: 4-for-10
Jose Tabata: 0-for-6
Travis Snider: 0-for-3
Andrew McCutchen: 4-for-11
Josh Harrison: 0-for-6
Starling Marte: 0-for-2
Jordy Mercer: 0-for-1
Neil Walker: 0-for-1
As you can see, the individual results aren’t pretty, especially from a run producer like Alvarez, who has left a small village on the bases prior to driving in a pair of runs on Friday.
The Pirates’ playoff chances, as well as finishing the season over .500, could be all but shot and the lack of production with runners on base gets a huge part of the blame, if not all of it. This team has wasted countless opportunities and it has come back to bite them.
However there’s still 19 games remaining if the Bucs want to make a run.
If they do, they need to start getting some hits when it matters.