Pittsburgh Pirates could use more contact hitters


Jun 11, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Russell Martin (55) reacts after striking out against the San Francisco Giants during the fifth inning at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 8-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates are having an exceptional year, and you can attribute most of that success by their strong pitching. The Pirates hitters need to thank their pitching teammates for most of their success this season.

This season’s blueprint for winning is simple: great pitching with just enough offense to win. Andrew McCutchen is the only player with a batting average above .300, although the Pirates’ slugging percentage is in the middle of the pack in MLB.

The Pirates as a team have struck out well above 900 times this year. They have struck out 12 and 11 times against the opposing starter just in the past week. I know they have faced extremely good pitching the last few days; however, it doesn’t seem to matter who they face. Each and every player on the team swings and misses way too much.

What happened to all the contact hitters in the game? Players like Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, Don Mattingly and Bill Madlock to name a few. Yes, I mentioned “Mad Dog” Madlock, because he was a great contact hitter for the Pirates of the late 1970s and early 80s.

I’m not sure who would take any blame for the lack of contact besides manager Clint Hurdle, who is a former hitting coach or Jay Bell, the Bucs’ first-year hitting instructor. Although, by the time players are in the major leagues they should have a good grasp on the whole hitting aspect of baseball.

General manager Neal Huntington should be hard at work trying to find the Pirates a more contact hitter with some punch for the playoff stretch. But I don’t know if that contact hitter is available this year at the trade deadline.