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Scout’s View- Stealing First

As I was writing this month’s article, the Pirates lost their fourth game in row, 8-3 to Baltimore. A friend of mine called and asked in a very frustrated tone, “Why can’t they get over the hump and stay there?” Just a few days ago the Pirates were 35-33. After this loss they dropped to 35-37. So what is it that keeps them from getting over the hump?

This year, it’s simple. The hitting, or lack thereof.

Last year it was the pitching.

It’s like the golfer who says, “I drove the ball well today, but my short game was bad,” or “I was putting great, but I couldn’t get off the tee. If I ever put it all together I am going to be a good golfer!”

And if the Pirates ever get it all together they will be a good team. But it’s almost like they are wasting this year’s very solid and consistent pitching with their quiet bats. Jose Tabata and Neil Walker have had their moments, just not enough of them. Andrew McCutchen has been up and down. Pedro Alvarez has been hurt, but he needs work. New acquisitions Lyle Overbay and Matt Diaz have simply not performed. Ronny Cedeno is still stuck in his rut offensively, and catchers Ryan Doumit and Chris Snyder are injured. As a team, the Pirates are batting .240 and have just 28 homeruns. Not a good recipe for a successful offense.
The scary question is, will the pitching hold up? Because if the pitching goes south and the hitting doesn’t pick up… then what?

Baseball is a long, long season. The teams who make the playoffs are truly the best teams. You don’t get lucky in baseball. There are no flukes; you have to be good. You have to be consistent. You have to put it all together.

The Pirates have done better than we all expected, but will it hold up? The pitching will solid. Perhaps not as good as it has been, but they will keep the Bucs in games.

The hitting? Well, personally, I just do not like the way they swing the bats, and I don’t think it will improve much over the rest of the season.

Manager Clint Hurdle wants to be aggressive: steal bases and play small ball… but as the old baseball saying goes, “You can’t steal first base.”

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