Baseball’s worst-hitting team had possibly it most pathetic game of the season in a 4-0 loss to St. Louis. Against Adam Wainwright, the Pirates’ woeful lineup managed just two singles, both by Colin Moran; Wainwright himself had a single and a double. One of the hits was wiped out by a double play, so the Pirates sent only 28 batters to the plate. They never got a runner past first.
A day after getting one-hit by a washed-up J.A. Happ, the Pirates figured to have trouble with a guy who was very tough for them even in the old days, when they fielded a major league lineup. Wainwright just waltzed through the game, needing only 88 pitches to send baseball’s worst-hitting team to its seventh straight loss.
Pirate starter Wil Crowe pitched well for a while, but didn’t throw a lot of strikes, needing 84 pitches to get through four and two-thirds innings. He gave up a run in the fourth on a two-out single by Yadier Molina, then left with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth. Nick Mears relieved and fell behind Paul Goldschmidt 3-1, but got a break when Goldschmidt went after ball four and grounded out.
After the Pirates flailed their way through the bottom of the fifth, Derek Shelton decided to try strategery. Instead of leaving Mears in for another inning and then batting for him, Shelton decided something more complicated was in order. He did a double switch, which allowed him to get Kevin Newman into the game. It was critical to get the worst-hitting Pirate regular since, literally, the 1880s into the game with the team trailing.
The double switch also brought on Cody Ponce and his 7.71 ERA. That’s now an 8.27 ERA, because Ponce gave up three runs in the seventh. But it made no difference, because baseball’s worst-hitting team continued on its way until the end.
The one positive from repeated travesties like this is that it has to leave no doubt, even in the Pirates’ front office, that this team needs a near-total roster overhaul just to be respectable. It’s not something that can wait, either. The Pirates are going to lose over 100 games, possibly well over. A team that awful can’t afford yet another off-season in which it makes no effort to improve. Doing nothing beyond adding borderline AAA players is just giving the finger to the fans.