The Pittsburgh Pirates have not been a good team this season. After a surprising start to last year, the team has done the complete opposite of that thus far, going 8-10 with the fewest runs scored in baseball. And it isn't just like a few guys aren't hitting; other than Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones, their numbers up and down the batting order are all pretty pedestrian.
Get this: the Pirates have scored 41 runs, worst in MLB. The second-worst team? The Athletics, who have had 59 runs cross the plate. Yikes.
Despite their struggles, McCutchen still looks like one of the brightest young stars in the league. Despite going homeless to this point, the 25-year-old has posted an OPS of .773 and plays strong defense in center field. He also leads his club with four steals. First baseman Garrett Jones has always hit well and has continued to do so, posting a triple-slash line of .297/.316/.595.
Outfielder Alex Presley has done a solid job in left field and currently has an OPS of .780. Casey McGehee came over from Milwaukee and has done a decent job offensively with a wOBA of .316. Nate McLouth returned to the Pirates following his poor tenure in Atlanta and has failed to do much of anything yet (.200/.304/.300).
Friday, 7:35 ET: Tommy Hanson vs. A.J. Burnett
Saturday, 7:10 ET: Randall Delgado vs. Erik Bedard
Sunday, 1:35 ET: Tim Hudson (TIM HUDSON!) vs. Kevin Correia
Monday, 7:10 ET: Mike Minor vs. TBA
The Pirates have been pretty good on the mound thus far as a staff. It's just tough to win when your team has scored 41 runs in 18 games.
The Braves really should win this series. Taking three out of four seems likely at this point, with either a split or sweep also very possible. Anything more than two losses to the Pirates would be a pretty tough blow to a team playing some very inspired baseball right now.
For more on the Braves, check out Talking Chop.