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MLB

Pittsburgh Pirates Use Record Number of Pitchers as Monumental Slide Continues

US PRESSWIRE

The Pittsburgh Pirates are in free fall. There’s no way around it.

The team sat  almost comfortably atop the National League Central standings about two months ago, and were an astounding 16 games above that elusive .500 mark as recently as July 28 as the team approached the trade deadline with a 58-42 record.

Today, September 14, the Pirates’s record sits at 72-71 after dropping their seventh straight game. The team is now 3.5 games out of the second wild card spot thanks to a 14-29 record since that day in July.

It’s like deja vu, but worse. And we all know exactly what I’m talking about, so I’ll get right to today’s ugly recap.

Pirates 4, Chicago Cubs 7

- Brock Holt posted an 0-for-5 in the lead off spot and left four men on base. His season average is down to .327 in just less than 50 MLB at bats.

Starling Marte went 1-for-4 with a strikeout. He stole a base but also got caught stealing and picked off. Don’t see that very often. He’s hitting .232 in 112 at bats on the year

Andrew McCutchen had a solo home run and two strikeouts in four at bats as his season average dropped to .339.

Garrett Jones and Gaby Sanchez each picked up two hits in four at bats, though Sanchez had a double.

Pedro Alvarez had a hit and two RBI.

The real story, though, was the pitching.

Starter James McDonald picked up his eighth loss of the season by giving up four runs in just 3.2 innings. He allowed five hits and walked four while striking out just two. McDonald has only turned in two good starts post-All-Star Break after looking like a Cy Young candidate through June.

The Pirates then went on to use seven more pitchers for a total of eight in the game, tying a team record for the most pitchers used in a nine inning contest.

Justin Wilson relieved McDonald and was followed by Chris Leroux, Kyle McPherson, Tony Watson, Jared Hughes, Chad Qualls and Bryan Morris, in that order.

Only Watson (1) and Hughes (2) allowed runs, though only McPherson and Watson struck anybody out.

It was Morris’ major league debut.

The loss runs the Pirates’ streak to seven and a row, and things aren’t looking good the rest of the way.

Tomorrow, Wandy Rodriguez takes the mound against Chicago’s Jason Berken

Game time is 1:05 PM

Follow Troy on Twitter @TroyPfaff for more Pittsburgh Pirates content