In our Daily Wake-Up Call, we get you ready for the day with a complete look at all things Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Pittsburgh Pirates were in a position to win a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs yesterday.

Conditions were near perfect. Jameson Taillon was on the bump for the Pirates, his second start after an encouraging initial return from cancer treatment. Opposing him was John Lackey, a pitcher the Pirates were certainly familiar with. Lackey had been struggling mightily this season, with a 5.54 FIP and other, uglier peripherals.

The Pirates had won five of their last seven. The Cubs had lost seven of their last 11 games. All the Pirates had to seemingly do was play solid baseball.

Though Taillon was not at his absolute best, the Pirates offense did the team zero favors. In only mustering three hits – with the team’s lone run coming off of a Jordy Mercer home run – the Pittsburgh Pirates put themselves firmly behind the eight-ball, a spot they sat in rather comfortably for the entirety of the game.

Mercer is having a solid season, but any game in which the team’s only run comes off of the end of his bat via a home run is likely to be a game the Pirates will lose.

It all adds up to a feeling of the club pushing a boulder uphill

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ longest winning streak in 2017 has been four games. Their longest losing streak stands at six contests. At 31-37, the team will likely need a substantial winning streak at some point this season if they are to truly contend for a playoff spot.

Can any fan or observer honestly think that this erratically hitting team can pull together a needed string such as that?

To be fair, the club is obviously still in contention due to a weaker than thought NL Central. And it will have to be a division crown that would put them into postseason play, as the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies appear to be for real. Those teams and others – a scrappy little squad known as the Los Angeles Dodgers, for example – are not going anywhere.

Before the Pittsburgh Pirates can win more games than they lose in a consistent fashion, they must first build consistency in their hitting approach.

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Jason Rollison

Jason Rollison has been analyzing baseball and the Pirates in one way or another for 4+ years. Jason's previous stops include rumbunter.com, Pittsburgh Sporting News, Call To The Pen and several print publications. He also covers the State College Spikes for the Centre County Gazette (State College, PA) When it comes to analyzing baseball, he likes to take a middle-of-the-road approach, with one foot on the analytics side of the fence and the other on the old-school side. Having said that, he is a sucker for pitchf/x. Jason has appeared as a phone-in and in-studio guests in numerous outlets, including Trib Live Radio and 93.7 The Fan (CBS Sports Radio)