In four of the first five games to start the 2014 season, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ offense has been pitiful. In the three games against the Chicago Cubs, the Pirates totaled just seven runs. What makes things even worse is that the teams played 35 innings in that series because the first game lasted 10 innings and the second lasted 16. In Saturday night’s loss against the St. Louis Cardinals, the pitching struggled early on, but the offense certainly didn’t do its part.
As baseball fans, we can be very reactionary. If you follow the games on Twitter like me, you will see all kinds of fans: the “everything will be alright” fans and the “oh no, the ship is sinking” fans. There is usually no gray area on the Internet. Right now, we are in ship-sinking mode when it comes to the Pirates’ offense.
If we base things off of last year, we will quickly realize that the offense obviously won’t be two runs per game (if you take away the 12-run outburst against the Cardinals on Friday night). This team won’t average five runs per game or anything like that, but they will definitely find themselves in the middle of the pack at some point.
Last season, the Pirates had eight position players that were above-average offensively, not counting the mere 115 plate appearances they got from Marlon Byrd. Their entire outfield of Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte and Jose Tabata were very good, with the lowest wRC+ among them being 118 from Tabata. Russell Martin, Jordy Mercer, Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez and Gaby Sanchez were all above average as well.
The Pirates’ offense was middle of the pack in 2013, but a lot of that was because of their horrible hitting with runners in scoring position. In 2013, and so far in 2014, the team has simply not gotten hits with runners on base. If we believe in the law of averages, the Pirates will eventually start to drive some runs in without the need of a home run.