Mar 27, 2014; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Russell Martin (55) blocks the ball in the first inning of the spring training exhibition game against the New York Yankees at McKechnie Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates: Stopping running game becoming an issue once again

One thing that bothered the Pittsburgh Pirates a great deal prior to last season was the fact that teams were able to run on the Bucs at will.

When you have a guy like Michael McKenry behind the plate chucking ducks out to the second baseman or shortstop on a regular basis, you can’t fault teams for running on the Pirates every opportunity they got.

Apr 6, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Tony Sanchez (26) makes his way to the dugout before playing the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The addition of Russell Martin last season as well as a team-wide approach to being quicker to the plate helped out some as that number was cut way down.

The addition of Chris Stewart to replace McKenry was thought of a move that would help shut down the oppositions running game even more, but things haven’t exactly worked out that way.

Most of that is the pitchers though as they have been much slower to the plate and teams have been taking advantage of it.

The Pirates have three starters- Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano and Charlie Morton- who rank in the Top 20 in stolen bases allowed over the course of the past three weeks. And teams have great success running against the Pirates bullpen as well.

That’s starting to become a big problem and it is leading to runs, something we saw become an issue against the Cincinnati Reds.

The running game is something to pay attention to in a big way over the course of the next few weeks.

With Martin on the disabled list and the throwing problems of Tony Sanchez, the stolen base could become a big weapon against the Pirates.

If the Pirates don’t put an emphasis on slowing down the running game over the next few weeks, things could get ugly in a hurry.

Let the track meet begin.

Tags: Pittsburgh Pirates Russell Martin

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