SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 9: Garrett Jones #46 of the Pittsburgh Pirates dives into second base for a double as Orlando Cabrera #43 of the San Francisco Giants can't come up with the throw in the third inning during an MLB baseball game at AT&T Park August 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
This wasn't James McDonald's best outing, as he allowed homers to Chris Stewart and Aubrey Huff and allowed three walks in six innings. Still, though, James McDonald wasn't the issue here. He still notched a quality start, as Jason Grilli and Joe Beimel combined to allow three runs in the eighth.
And, more to the point, the Pirates just can't hit right now. They didn't score, but it isn't just that; they're just getting pwned night after night. Tonight, Madison Bumgarner struck out 10 batters and walked one. And yes, Bumgarner is good and all, but the Bucs struck out 13 times and walked twice against Ryan Vogelsong and company on Monday. On Sunday it was eight strikeouts and one walk against Mat Latos and the Padres. On Saturday it was 11 strikeouts and no walks against Cory Luebke and a couple relievers. There's a break in the pattern there, as the Pirates walked nine times on Friday, but still ... the Bucs' offense isn't just getting beat. It's getting killed.
It's true, obviously, that it's possible for hitters to be productive in the majors while striking out a lot, but when coupled with the lack of walks, it's pretty clear what's going on. The Bucs' hitters just look completely clueless. And this is days after it added two bats at the trading deadline. There's not much to do at this point except wait it out and hope for Alex Presley and Jose Tabata back. But right now, this is ugly.