The Pittsburgh Pirates were swept in their series against the Chicago Cubs.
Okay, the Cubs are really good. I knew this before the series began; they had the best record in baseball while seemingly dissecting every team. Now it’s been indented in my brain, the Cubs are an unstoppable force.
Granted, the Pirates may have played their worst series of the young season. They were outscored 20-5 in the sweep. Gerrit Cole and Jon Niese were ripped to shreds by the Cubs explosive offense; they are on pace to have the best run differential in baseball history.
The Pirates continued their defensive woes this series that began in Sunday extra inning lost to the Reds. Josh Harrison missed a throw at home Monday night and Andrew McCutchen misplayed a fly ball to in today’s loss.
You cannot give an already dangerous offense additional chances and base runners by kicking the ball around the field. I do feel this has just been a bad stretch of defense and it should not be an issue moving forward.
What people should be worried about is the roll coaster ride of the Pirates offense. Despite leading the national league in on-base percentage, the team continues to struggle driving in runs. For the series, the Pirates left a combined 22 guys on base including 10 in Wednesday’s loss. Three of those 10 were left on in the bottom of the 4th inning.
With the base loaded and no outs, the Pirates had a golden opportunity to erase the 3-0 deficit. But like many of times this season, they were unable to produce any runs. Jon Lester struck out Sean Rodriguez, Harrison flied out and Gregory Polanco struck out, ending the Pirates best chance this series to score. This is becoming an ugly trend.
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As of right now, the Cubs are too good to catch in the central. It is a tough realization, but they have scored the most runs and given up the fewest of at team and there seems to be no end in sight. They are an exciting group to watch in all honesty, they are leading the charge with Bryce Harper in making baseball fun again.
I do loath the Cubs franchise with a passion, but I love the way Joe Maddon has his team playing. Every player on the roster plays hard no matter if they are up 7-1 or down 13, running out ground balls like it will decide the final out of the World Series. It is something to admire, the way baseball is supposed to be played.
If the Pirates want to overtake the Cubs to win the division, they better start praying now. Unless some of Chicago’s big dogs (Lester, Jake Arrieta , Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant) go down with injury, the Buc’s route to the World Series will run through the Wild Card again.