After rattling off a four-game win streak heading into Sunday night's game with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Pirates stranded the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth in a failed comeback attempt, falling to the Redbirds, 6-5. The Pirates stranded 11 runners on the night.
On the season, the Pirates are converting at a 31 percent clip in terms of productive-out opportunities, which is right at the league average, according to Baseball-Reference. Through 69 at-bats, Gaby Sanchez has yet to produce a productive out (seven opportunities), which is defined as advancing a runner with no outs or driving in a runner with two outs.
But the offense has picked up the lack of success the starting pitching staff has had thus far. The Pirates staff has dealt with injuries to this point in the season, but the lack of support it has given the rest of the team has provided for an up-and-down year so far.
To get off to the start the team needs, retiring the leadoff man in the order needs to be a priority. It seems simple, but the Pirates have struggled mightily at the task. Three-game sets against the Milwaukee Brewers and the New York Yankees will serve as tough tests to pass in order to stay afloat in the NL Central race.
Accomplishing those tasks will provide a chance to get things back on level footing heading into the next homestand during the penultimate week of May.