April 3, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker (18) singles against the Chicago Cubs during the second inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates off to another sluggish start with the bats

Stop me if you have heard this one before.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have started the season ice cold with the bats.

In similar fashion to the way they started the season last year, the Pirates’ bats were as cold as the weather in their opening three-game series against the Chicago Cubs.

April 1, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Garrett Jones (46) at bat against the Chicago Cubs during the sixth inning at PNC Park. The Chicago Cubs won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The opening series of the season could be remembered more for its lack of offense than anything else as the Cubs and Pirates combined for only 24 hits over three games. That amounts to the lowest hit total in a three-game series involving either of those teams in nearly 100 years (1915), when Chicago and Pittsburgh produced only 22 hits over three games at Forbes Field.

After having one of the worst month and a halves in Major League Baseball history to begin 2012, the Bucs are at in again in 2013, collecting a total of 13 hits in three games.

That’s 13 hits against a Cubs’ pitching staff that’s not exactly considered one of the more dominant staffs in baseball.

They managed only two hits through eight innings against Jeff Samardzija on Monday and Travis Wood and a pair of relievers limited them to only one hit through eight on Thursday. If it weren’t for Cubs manager Dale Sveum giving Carlos Marmol the ball twice, the numbers would look even worse.

In an inning and a third against Marmol, the Bucs have scored three runs on four hits and struck out only twice.

In 25.2 innings against any other Cubs pitcher, the Bucs have scored just three runs on nine hits, striking out 23 times.

Needless to say, that’s not the fashion that Clint Hurdle wanted his team to come out of the gates.

Garrett Jones has started the season 1-for-9. Gaby Sanchez is only 1-for-10. Then there’s the likes of Russell Martin who has gotten off to a scorching 0-for-10 start.

Did the frigid temperatures play a role in the sluggish offensive start?

Likely, as the Cubs managed only 11 total hits through three games, despite taking two of three from the Pirates.

If the weather did play a major role, the Pirates got the perfect medicine for that- a trip to sunny Los Angeles.

There are a few problems with that thinking though- Zach Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu, the three Dodgers starters the Pirates are scheduled to face.

It’s hard to imagine the Pirates bats being any worse than they were in the season opening series, but if they are going to do much better they are going to have to do it against some very good pitching.

If they don’t, it could turn into another dreadful start with the bats.

I think I have heard this story before.

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Tags: Clint Hurdle Gaby Sanchez Garrett Jones Pittsburgh Pirates Russell Martin

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