Pirates Slump Continues: Why Pittsburgh Will Bounce Back

After finishing the winless series against the Padres and suffering huge setbacks this month, it might be easy to count the Pirates out for Wild-Card contention. In the last ten games, the Pirates have only managed to win three, and their most recent loss pushes them out of the lead spot for the second Wild Card this year. But a closer look at the Pirates as they appeared in August reveals much more about the recent Pittsburgh slump, and may show some signs that the Pirates are far from ready to give up the battle for the postseason.

One important factor is the recent Pirates schedule, as you’ve likely noticed with the huge volume of Pittsburgh Pirates tickets available this month. With exception to yesterday’s break, the Pirates had played 20 games in just 20 days. Not only has this schedule wreaked havoc on the team in the win column, but it has been detrimental to the Pirates bench. Neil Walker, Travis Snider, and Starling Marte have all been forced to take breaks to recover from injuries. This stretch also featured a 19-inning game against St. Louis. As the schedule gets lighter, the Pirates should get the rest they need to bounce back.

Both the starting pitching rotation and early offense have also slumped during August. This has contributed to a frequent need for the Pirates to play from behind in almost every game following only a couple of innings. But coach Clint Hurdle is getting some of the blame, especially following a questionable decision to bring Chad Qualls out of the bullpen in a disastrous eighth inning against the Padres.

While there are certainly issues with the Pirates in August, similar problems are plaguing teams around the league, and a lighter schedule in the final quarter of the season should give starting pitchers the rest they need (and perhaps give Andrew McCutchen the chance to show fans why he deserves his NL MVP candidacy).


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