The Pittsburgh Pirates started off the 2023 season with an incredible hot streak that saw them atop the National League and receiving major media attention. Series wins over the Reds, Dodgers, Rockies, and Nationals saw the Pirates producing great offense and quality pitching. However, the club has now fallen into a funk as Sunday marked their seventh loss in a row.
Let’s start off by realizing that despite the skid, the Pirates are still off to far better start than predicted and still sit at first in the Central division. With that being said, there certainly is reason to be alarmed at this sudden fall from grace.
Back to back sweeps at the hands of Tampa Bay and Toronto have left the team in a daze, as both groups were in constant control of each game and the Pirates were just unable to get going. Manager Derek Shelton has played with the lineup since the loss of short stop Oneil Cruz and with the exception of the second base and the former, the team has mostly been productive.
Veteran acquisitions Carlos Santana and Andrew McCutchen have been consistent in getting on base and then some, and Bryan Reynolds was having an MVP-like start. The drop off in offensive production is shocking however, as no one on the squad is creating meaningful output.
Sunday’s contest saw the Pirates lose 10-1 as no one was able to get the bats going. Amazingly, Ke’Bryan Hayes had the most successful day, despite still struggling offensively overall. When the best players on your team aren’t scoring, the squad can quickly fall behind.
The lack of offense has in turn hurt the team defensively, as the pitching group has been getting murdered as of late. The starting rotation has actually surprised me a lot this year, as while they are still not an elite group, they have been playing exceptionally well. However, they are not talented enough to compete with this lack of production from its hitters though, as they are being forced to go into bad situations early and not be able to dig out of it.
Unfortunately they do not crown the best team in baseball in the month of April as we had previously started to believe, and we are now back to the typical model of Pirates’ baseball that we have seen from the past couple of years. They have good players in place, but they will need to do some serious work to steer this ship.