June 24, 2024

Despite the Pittsburgh Pirates’ recent struggles, there’s optimism for a turnaround, largely fueled by the emergence of rookie aces Paul Skenes and Jared Jones, alongside 2023 All-Star Mitch Keller. Together, they form the potential core of a formidable pitching rotation that could position the Pirates as contenders.

However, recent games against the San Francisco Giants have highlighted a glaring issue: the team’s inability to capitalize on quality starts from their young pitchers. In back-to-back games, the Pirates squandered leads and suffered losses despite solid outings from Jones and Skenes.

In these two games, Jones and Skenes combined to allow just four earned runs over 12 innings, which would typically result in a respectable 3.00 ERA. Moreover, the Pirates hit grand slams in both games, giving their bullpen sizable leads to protect.

Unfortunately, the bullpen faltered, surrendering six runs in each game and ultimately costing the Pirates potential victories. Such collapses are unacceptable and historically uncommon for the team.

If the Pirates had capitalized on those leads, they would currently hold a 25-26 record, potentially sparking a shift in momentum and perception around the team. With the emergence of Skenes and the promising performances of their young starting pitchers, there could have been a newfound optimism. However, by squandering those opportunities and failing to capitalize on strong starts, the Pirates now sit five games below .500 at 23-28, appearing far from contention.

Pittsburgh Pirates Making History in Great Start to Season - Fastball

While the team boasts a solid rotation, or at least the foundation of one, the same cannot be said for their lineup and bullpen, which fall short of expectations. This disparity poses a significant problem, and there is pressure on management to construct a competitive team around Skenes, Jones, and Keller before their potential goes to waste.

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