In our daily Wake-Up Call, we get you ready for the day with a complete look at all things Pittsburgh Pirates.
For the first time since Opening Day, the Pittsburgh Pirates are a .500 ball club. Yesterday the team lost 5-0 to the Los Angeles Dodgers. This team just cannot bust out of this funk they are in. It’s hard to believe that at one point this team was nine games over .500 and playing some extremely good baseball. However, that seems like another lifetime ago right now.
Last night was another game where it seemed like the Pirates were never in it. Joe Musgrove was okay but never really looked comfortable. He allowed four runs (three earned) in five innings of work. Musgrove has pitched well in his first two Pirates starts, however, he seemed primed for a bit of regression. I don’t think this is a sign of things to come for Musgrove but every starting pitcher will have nights like it.
Starting pitching wasn’t the primary issue last night as the offense failed to score for the third time in the last eight games. You cannot win if you don’t score and the Pirates cannot score. They have lost whatever magic they had through most of April and May. The offensive struggles are particularly maddening because it isn’t like the Pirates have seen a plethora of big name pitchers. They have generally been shut down by aces and backend starters alike. Hitting a baseball is hard and right now it certainly looks that way for the Pirates.
When the team has been shutout three times in just about a week of play, the entire offense is struggling. No one player can be held responsible for a team’s offensive ineptitude. However, right now, I would assume most fans would lay the blame at the feet of Sean Rodriguez. Rodriguez has been a popular player during his time with the Pirates but right now, he is not performing up to par. He has never been a great hitter but he is absolutely awful right now. To make matters worse, he is below par in the field as well. Rodriguez has had three costly errors over the past week and for a glove-first utility man, that is not acceptable.
When a player struggles it doesn’t take long for fans to turn on him. I want to make one thing very clear, it’s perfectly valid to criticize Rodriguez’s poor play, however, it is not valid to say he doesn’t care. Sean Rodriguez cares more about his struggles than every fan combined. This is his livelihood and he is dangerously close to playing his way off of a Major League roster. His struggles are annoying to fans, to him, they are potentially the end of a nearly decade long Major League career. I think fans should be free to criticize any player they want, especially when the player is underperforming. However, any question of the player’s desire to succeed is way off base. Everyone takes pride in their work and baseball players are no different. They want to succeed and help their team win, so when they fail, it is more frustrating than we could possibly comprehend.
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