One week into the 2012 season, the Pittsburgh Pirates find themselves in fifth place in the National League Central Division with a 3-6 record. It was not a struggle until the Pirates hit the West Coast.
Pittsburgh got off to a tremendous start with a season-opening series win over the reigning National League East champion Philadelphia Phillies. After a tough luck 1-0 loss on Opening Day for newly acquired Bucco Erik Bedard, the Pirates recorded back-to-back walk-off wins on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
Alex Presley provided the excitement on Saturday when he showcased his speed for a game-winning infield single. Andrew McCutchen proved to be a pain in the Phillies behind with his walk-off single off the center field wall on Sunday, his fourth hit of the game.
With a 2-1 record, the Pirates were taking their momentum to the West Coast, where it would soon fizzle down to nothing. Over the years, the Pirates have struggled on the road, especially on the West Coast.
The Pirates' first stop would be in Los Angeles against a Dodgers team they struggled to a 2-6 record against last year. This year would prove to be no different, as they were not able to find their offense on their way to a three game sweep. In a blink of an eye, the Pirates went from being 2-1 to a measly 2-4.
Pittsburgh’s next stop was in San Francisco for a weekend series against the Giants. Once again, the Pirates struggle to find any offense has they dropped both games on Friday and Saturday. San Francisco pitcher Matt Cain looked in midseason form in Friday’s contest as he was able to one-hit the Pirates. Pittsburgh’s lone hit came off the bat of Cain’s opposing pitcher James McDonald.
The Pirates ended the week on a positive note and some momentum they can look to carry them into their next series in Arizona with a 4-1 victory over the Giants. Kevin Correia put up his second quality start in as many outings, going six innings allowing one run on three hits, while striking out two. Joel Hanrahan converted his first save opportunity of the season.
The main reason for the Pirates struggles up to this point has been the lack of offense. The Pirates rank dead last in the majors with a .188 team batting average. They also rank last in the majors with only four home runs, as well as last in runs with 18.
Not all was bad for the Pirates in the first week. The starting rotation has put up some stellar performances, even though the outcomes have not been to their liking. The Pirates are fifth in the majors with a team ERA of 2.57.
Pittsburgh will continue their road trip with three games in Arizona beginning tonight. Bedard will look for his first victory of the season tonight against the Diamondbacks. He will be opposed by Joe Saunders. First pitch is scheduled for 9:40 p.m.
With the pitching showing promise early on in the season, there is still hope that the 2012 Pirates can make a run at the giants of the league.