The Pittsburgh Pirates offensive futility this season has been absolutely stunning, and no one knows about it more than their very own pitching staff.
In terms of offense so far this season, the Pirates are aiming to cap off their full two decade losing streak by also targeting some new offensive record lows. They currently sit last in the entire league in average, on-base percentage, slugging, and on-base + slugging. They are also dead last in runs. I pause here to note that they are an astounding 9 runs behind the 29th place team. The last place list continues with hits (10 behind the 29th place team), doubles, homeruns, RBIs (11 behind the 29th place team), and walks. That is 10 total offensive categories in which the Pirate rank dead last in a league of 30 teams.
In looking at the number that really matters the most, runs per game, the Pirates come in at an absolutely staggering 1.9 per game! For the sake of emphasis, let me state that the Pittsburgh Pirates players cross the plate less than 2 times per game. The top team in this category, who the Pirates will face soon and many times this season, is the Cardinals, who are averaging 5.7 runs per game. (without Pujols, they can’t compete and will leave the division open this year, right?). Not that it matters if they are facing the Cardinals or any other team though, because, as the stats show, it’s not possible to find another offense that reaches this level of ineptitude.
I lack the time (or desire) to track down full historical stats, but the lowest runs per game that I came up with was 2.98 by the 1969 San Diego Padres, who lost 110 games. They just so happened to be an expansion franchise that year and had an All-Star representation with Chris Cannizzaro. Who is that? Who knows. In a sweet poetic irony, he played for the Pirates himself in 1968. That feels right to me.
What makes it feel worse is that the pitching, similar to what we saw in the first half of last year, has been lights-out tremendous. They rank 5th in the league in ERA, 9th in hits, 4th in runs, 4th in HRs, and 14th in opponent average. Their bullpen ranks 7th in ERA with a 2.54. Oh, by the way, Kevin Correia and James McDonald have the 5th and 6th best averages on the team. Sure, they have only batted 8 times combined, but they have still managed to scratch together has many hits as Pedro Alvarez, each.
I know it’s extremely early, but this team is just awful. It’s exasperating to turn on the TV at night, and know that once the other team has 2 runs that the game is effectively over.
I like this team. I like the direction that they are headed. But I don’t think I can bear to watch the Pirates lose the next 20 games by a run. I am just going to keep the TV off until this all blows over. See you in 2013.