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In 105 years of baseball, the Pittsburgh Pirates had never been never been swept in a three game series while giving up just six runs.
That century long streak ended in this week’s series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium as the Bucs fell by the score of 2-1 in each game.
The sweep marks the third time the Pirates have been swept this season. They have also compiled a pair of sweeps of their own, making them just the fifth National League team in the last 35 seasons to be involved in a sweep in each of its first four series. The Pirates also did it back in 1984.
The Bucs are just the third team to be involved in five sweeps to open a season, joining the 1997 Chicago Cubs and 1983 New York Mets.
While the Pirates pitching has been superb, the offense has taken a step back since last weekend’s series sweep of the Cubs, a series that I thought would provide the Pirates with momentum moving forward.
As a unit, the Pirates are hitting for a .234 batting average and rank 19th in baseball in that category. When it comes to the NL, the Pirates rank 11th out of 15 teams. However, the number that really hurts is their .202 average with runners in scoring position. In that category, the Pirates rank 23rd in baseball and second to last in the NL ahead of just the San Diego Padres.
The loss of Starling Marte Tuesday to an 80 game suspension was a crushing blow to the Pirates, but even more so now that the offense has hit a sudden cold streak after scoring 18 runs against the Cubs at Wrigley.
If the Pirates want to contend in the NL Central, which will be hard enough to do without Marte, they have to figure out a way to get the offense hot and become a more consistent ball club. Pitching can only get a team so far and one run of support per game is clearly not enough. I’ll give Ivan Nova, Chad Kuhl and Gerrit Cole credit. They pitched lights out in the Cardinals series and gave the team a chance to win, but they deserved a lot more than the end result.
Now with the Cardinals series over, the Pirates get an off day today and come home to PNC Park tomorrow for a three game set against the New York Yankees. But it brings the question, what Pirates team will fans see this weekend?
The Bucs can only hope that history repeats itself when the Bronx Bombers come to town. Cause as we’ve seen before, a sweep may once again be on the horizon in the Pirates favor.
Baseball Talk Around the Web
- Chris Bahr of FoxSports.com talks about how nine MLB contenders can recover from slow starts.
- Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo wants more drug testing in Major League Baseball.
- Bleacher Report lists prospects from every team that could have an impact right away.
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