Pittsburgh Pirates: 5 Main Reasons Behind Pirates Meltdown
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The Pittsburgh Pirates shocked the baseball world with their performance this season.
The Pirates haven't been over .500 or even in the hunt for many seasons. And to think that in early July they were fighting for first place with teams like the Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds.
Andrew McCutchen leads the team in home runs, walks, stolen bases and runs, and he is having yet another All-Star caliber year with the Pirates.
Other players who were producing for the Pirates are Neil Walker, Garrett Jones and Lyle Overbay.
Not only was the hitting there for the Pirates in crucial games, but their pitching staff was lights out for a long time.
Their starting rotation, led by Kevin Correia, was great, and the bullpen was outstanding. Saves leader Joel Hanrahan was strong closing games, and crucial parts in the bullpen like Chris Resop and Tony Watson helped the Pirates stay close in the race up until July.
But what happened to the Pirates since the All-Star break?
Here are five main reasons for the Pirates' meltdown:
heart breaking loss
On July 27th, the Pirates suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Atlanta Braves in a 19-inning game at Turner Field.
In the 19th inning, Scott Proctor hit a ground ball to Pedro Alvarez, who threw it home.
The catcher clearly tagged him out, but home umpire Jerry Meals disagreed and called Atlanta's Julio Lugo safe.
The loss to the Braves began a snowball effect that the Pirates have yet to recover from.
Pitchers Could Not Keep Up the Good Work
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Since the All-Star break, the Pirates lead the National League in home runs allowed, and opponents have a .281 batting average. They also have allowed 85 walks.
Ever since the All-Star break, their pitching staff has not been as effective as it would like to be.
Paul Maholm has not been helpful to the Pirates at all since the break, giving up 20 earned runs, 44 hits and a 5.87 ERA in 30.2 innings pitched.
Somebody Get These Batters Tennis Rackets
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From time to time, the Pirates show that their bats are alive, but since the All-Star Game, they have the worst batting average in the National League at .235.
The Pirates also only have 86 RBIs since the All-Star break.
And the one guy that the Pirates look to for offensive support, Andrew McCutchen, has been one of the worst batters on the team since the All-Star break, averaging .219.
You Need to Use 2 Hands and Keep Your Eye on the Ball
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The one thing you learn when playing baseball is defense wins games.
If you don't make any errors, you have a really good shot at winning every game.
The Pirates have committed 86 errors this season, and Pedro Alvarez leads the team with 12.
Pittsburgh is the third-worst team in errors in the National League.
If it wants to get back on track, it'll have to avoid mistakes.
Cant Stand the Heat, Get out of the Kitchen
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The city of Pittsburgh hasn't seen a winning baseball season in roughly 18 years.
In 2011, the Pirates were not only over .500, but they could taste first place and a spot in the playoffs.
But after the All-Star break, the Pirates couldn't handle the red-hot Brewers and Cardinals.
When it came down to it, the Pirates couldn't beat the teams in their division, and my guess is they're just not talented enough.