Pirates Offense Taking Strides, but Needs to Step Up

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — The Pittsburgh Pirates offense banged out 11 hits against the Colorado Rockies in the Bucs 5-4 win on Tuesday night at PNC Park. It marked just the third time all season that the club had combined for double-digit hits. The two other days came on April 17 against Arizona (13), on the 8th against Philadelphia (11).

Entering game action on Thursday, the Pirates were hitting for a team .221 clip. They gained 19 points in their average after Tuesday’s win and Wednesday’s doubleheader. For most of the 2012 season, the bats have been cold. It seemed that the early offensive struggles were taken with a grain of salt because it was early in the season. But now that it’s the end of April, the club needs that to take a turn.

“Our picture’s not on a milk carton yet. We’re not missing,” Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle said. “We just got to do things in a little more efficient manner. I don’t think you ever hear coming out of my lips that it’s early. It is what it is. It’s a game. You’re playing a game that day, and what I always try and get out guys to do is just honestly self evaluate that day. We seem to be doing that.”

“The challenge has been the transitional part of taking the work into the game and playing. I think we’re getting to a better place with that. We need to get to a better place with it because games played are games played. You don’t get them back. At-bats that you’ve kicked, you’ve kicked. Good pitching performances you weren’t able to move upon, they’re behind you. We need to continue to play in the moment, embrace the moment and be more productive definitely from the offensive standpoint from the at-bats that we’re getting.”

While the team’s average is last in the National League, it’s not the team as a whole that is struggling. All-Star Andrew McCutchen’s .329 average is tenth-best in the N.L. His hits (23) is ranked seventh. Alex Presley has a ten game hitting streak. The team has just not been able to hit collectively as a team.

Despite scoring just 41 runs this season, which is also ranked last in the National League, the pitching has been solid for the Pirates, carrying them this season. The Bucs became the first team since the 1965 Pirates to not allow or score more than five runs in any contest this season. Pittsburgh has a team ERA of 2.58 over 157.0 innings, good for second best in baseball.

Hurdle said he is not pleased with their record.

“We’re 6-9,” Hurdle said on Tuesday morning. “There’s a lot of talk. I get questions [about] the schedule. We’re not hitting and you’re 6-9. Well okay. We’re 6-9. We’re in a division where there’s good teams. We’ve got to step up our overall play. We’ve got to put a better package on the field. I don’t know if I could ever be pleased being on a team or coaching a team, or managing a team that’s 6-9. We’ve got work to do.”

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