Expectations were high coming into the 2014 Major League Baseball regular season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. After all, the team made it back to the playoffs in 2013 for the first time since 1992.
Now, although it is hard to believe, it is a fact that the Pirates are currently on pace to lose 100 games in 2014. That's right, 100 losses.
In case you are thinking that was a typing error, here is the calculation. The Pirates currently sit at 10-16, which equates to a .385 winning percentage. Over a 162-game span, that would amount to 62.37 wins. Rounding down, that would give the Pirates a final regular-season record of 62-100 in 2014.
If the Pirates do continue to play this poorly, the franchise could see its biggest drop ever in winning percentage between two 162-game seasons. Their current winning percentage is a decrease of .195 percentage points from their 2013 winning percentage of .580.
Pittsburgh's poor performance out of the gates in 2014 has been mind-blowing, especially due to the fact that the Pirates do not have that different of a team from 2013.
In 2013, the Pirates owned a team batting average of .245 and an earned run average of 3.26. Through 26 games in 2014, they are batting just .221 as a team while holding an ERA of 3.65. With that great a lack of offensive production, high ERAs from usually-reliable pitchers like Francisco Liriano and Charlie Morton simply will not lead to wins.
So, where has the offense gone? It is seemingly nowhere to be found, as the Pirates have had trouble even collecting singles. The Pirates have a total of 197 hits in their first 26 games, which is good for third-worst in the National League behind only the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets.
Starling Marte leads the majors in strikeouts with 37 already in 2014. Pedro Alvarez, who led the team in strikeouts last season but was still a huge factor in the lineup with great power, is batting just .172 with six home runs.
Even reigning National League Most Valuable Player Andrew McCutchen got off to a slow start. He has raised his average to .286, but the Pirates will need much more production from him to get back to where they were at the end of last season.
So the question remains: Just how likely is it that the Pirates will stun the baseball world and lose 100 games in 2014?
With the amount of talent they brought back in 2014, it is hard to see Pittsburgh continuing to play this poorly. After all, this is mostly the same group of players that won 94 games and made the playoffs in 2013.
They surely don't look like the same group of players, however.
While it would be hard to predict the Pirates losing 100 games in 2014, the reality is that neither pitching nor offense is getting the job done. All teams go through slumps, but very rarely does a team go through a prolonged drought like this and still go on to make the playoffs.
Then again, anything is possible, and the Pirates have the talent needed to make a splash in their division. Right now, however, they are looking more like a 100-loss team than a 94-win team.
*Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.
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