Pittsburgh Pirates: The Bucs offensive struggles by the numbers


Only one word comes to mind while watching the Pittsburgh Pirates attempt to hit the baseball throughout the first six games of the 2013 season- embarrassing.

But while it is hard to watch or make excuses for the Bucs worse than slow start to the season, fans need to relax as this team will be a good offensive ball club…I think.

It’s beyond anything certain at this point.

September 18, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez (24) reaches base on an error against the Milwaukee Brewers during the seventh inning at PNC Park. The Milwaukee Brewers won 6-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

However if everyone remembers the awful start the Bucs got off to just a season ago, there is hope. That team was on pace to set a major league record for futility before the bats woke up and they started scoring runs in volume.

The same scenario should happen this season, but it’s far from a certainty.

But since I brought up last season, I thought I would compare the two starts to the season as it sheds even more light on how atrocious this Pirates offense has been so far.

Last season the Bucs got off to a 2-8 start, mostly because the team didn’t hit in April. But the 2012 team more resembles Murderer’s Row when compared to this team.

The biggest sticking point is that the Bucs have scored only eight runs through six games, which is easily the worst ark in baseball and in franchise history. Last year through six games, the Pirates had plated 13 runners.

The 2012 Pirates hit only .199 as a team throughout their first 10 games. This lineup is raking at a .119 clip, the worst mark in the majors.

I tend to think that paying attention to batting averages, whether it be as an individual or  as a team, is laughable at this point of the season, but there are other issues which aren’t as funny,

Part of the problems these teams have is they aren’t getting on base in other ways.

The approach at the plate is comical, as is the amount of bad pitches this team swings at.

Drawing walks is a big part of winning baseball and the Bucs have drawn only 14 free passes this season. That’s a problem and it leads to the next problem which is a horrific .188 on-base percentage, again last in baseball. The 2012 team finished the year 27th in the majors with only a .304 OBP and were easily last in the majors during the early going with a .241 mark.

Then there is the fact that the big hit has been missing. It’s almost unthinkable that the Bucs have a .159 slugging percentage and a .348 OPS as a team. That 2012 team was also last in baseball through April with a .293 SLG and a .535 OPS.  Having only five extra-base hits through six games is a problem.

The 2013 numbers don’t even come close to approaching the putrid marks of 2012.

Then there are some other fun facts which include 54 strike outs, including 10 from Pedro Alvarez. I think Alvarez will be fine and the strikeouts wouldn’t be as big of a deal if the Bucs were hitting the ball well when they made contact. But the facts are that they aren’t. They aren’t even barreling many balls as most of the contact they have made to this point has been very weak contact.

Finally just take this into account.

The Bucs have 21 hits through six games, which amounts to only 3.5 per game. Twenty-three of the 30 major league teams have scored at least 21 runs, much less getting only 21 hits.

The good news is that is only six games and you would think that the Bucs will get the bats going soon.

If they don’t start hitting soon though, this is going to get more embarrassing and they will be taking yet another run at the history books in terms of futility.

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