2012 Pirates & The Case of Few Hits

Throughout the course of a Major League Baseball season, there are bound to be plenty of spectacular pitching performances. Sometimes the pitcher rises to the occasion; sometimes the offense is just dreadful. Both instances were far too common for the 2012 Pirates. Here’s a look at ten different occasions where the Bucs recorded three hits or less…

1. March 18th, 2012
Final: Twins 10, Pirates 0
Bucco Hits: One

The Bucs’ hitting woes started way back in spring training. Francisco Liriano (ironically enough) led the way with five no-hit innings. A few other pitchers got in on the action, but Liriano did the most damage. Brandon Boggs had the lone hit.

2. April 5th, 2012
Final: Phillies 1, Pirates 0
Bucco Hits: Two

They started the season off on a lousy note, wasting Erik Bedard‘s solid debut on Opening Day. The Pirates were shut down by 2010 Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay. The afternoon got off to a promising start, as Alex Presley and Jose Tabata notched back-to-back hits in the bottom of the first. But they couldn’t get anything else going, and not a single hit was recorded the rest of the game.

3. April 13th, 2012
Final: Giants 5, Pirates 0
Bucco Hits: One

Friday the 13th was capped by an abysmal performance in San Francisco. James McDonald – yes, the pitcher – was the only Pirate to find the hit column. Matt Cain dominated with 11 strikeouts as he went the distance. Cain went on to pitch a perfect game against the Astros in June.

4. May 6th, 2012
Final: Reds 5, Pirates 0
Bucco Hits: Three

The Pirates turned in a sloppy Sunday performance to drop the series against the Reds. Neil Walker, Nate McLouth, and Jose Tabata had singles in the 3rd, 4th, and 7th, respectively. The Bowling with the Bucs event was hosted after this rough game.

5. May 18th, 2012
Final: Tigers 6, Pirates 0
Bucco Hits: One

Leading up to the weekend series in Detroit, one simple question was on the minds of Pirates fans: when does Verlander pitch? When it became known that the reigning American League Cy Young and MVP would be taking the hill on Friday night, tons of jokes and predictions were tossed around. The Bucs’ offense was so bad to that point in the season, it was almost guaranteed that Verlander would dominate. A collective sigh of relief was let out when he walked the second batter of the game, Neil Walker. No perfect game for you, Mr. Verlander. But the no-hitter was still on the table… and remained in tact for the remainder of the night. Verlander settled in and was virtually untouchable. He carried the no-no into the ninth, and retired Michael McKenry on a groundball. However, Josh Harrison came to the rescue for the Pirates and ended the no-hit bid after eight and one-third innings.

J-Hay instantly became Detroit’s most wanted. Clint Hurdle offered this bizarre quote after the game:

[quote_center]”I’ve wanted to be part of Tigers history since I was a little kid, and I almost was tonight”[/quote_center]

6. July 23rd, 2012
Final: Cubs 2, Pirates 0
Bucco Hits: Two

The club went on a tear through June and July and put up quite a few stellar offensive performances. They broke down on July 23rd, however, as Notre Dame product Jeff Samardzija limited the Bucs to just two hits. They entered the night with a record of 54-40. From that game to the end of the season, they were just 25-43 – meltdown mode.

7. August 11th, 2012
Final: Padres 5, Pirates 0
Bucco Hits: Two

San Diego absolutely embarrassed the Pirates on Friday and Saturday of the August series at PNC. James McDonald blew a huge lead in the series opener, and Jason Marquis almost no-hit the Bucs on Skyblast Saturday. Marquis alone had as many hits as the Buccos, going 2 for 4 on the night. Travis Snider led off the seventh with an infield hit to end Marquis’ run, and Pedro Alvarez knocked a long single an inning later.

8. September 18th, 2012
Final: Brewers 6, Pirates 0
Bucco Hits: Three

A three-game, mid-September series against Milwaukee opened in horrendous fashion. Clint Barmes singled in the 2nd inning, and Neil Walker notched two singles later in the game. The Pirates couldn’t muster anything against Yovani Gallardo and the Brew Crew, as their record dropped to 74-73.

9. September 26th, 2012
Final: Mets 6, Pirates 0

Bucco Hits: Three

The Bucs didn’t show up in the Big Apple on September 26th, as Jeremy Hefner threw seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball. Starling Marte and Pedro Alvarez (twice) collected singles for Pittsburgh. The next day resulted in R.A. Dickey‘s 20th win of the year, and the following night was even worse…

10. September 28th, 2012
Final: Reds 1, Pirates 0
Bucco Hits: Zero

September 28th will go down in PNC Park history, as Homer Bailey no-hit the Pirates in front of 34,796 fans. The Collapse 2.0™ came to a big finish on the final weekend of the season. Bailey’s no-no handed the Pirates their 81st loss, which sealed the deal for a non-winning season.

It was a rough year at the plate for the Bucs, and these 10 games are a pretty good reminder of their troubles. A recurring theme you may have noticed is that the Pirates seemed to get blasted in these games. They lost seven of the games by five runs or more; the total score of all ten: Opponents 47, Pirates 0. Another pattern is that all 18 Bucco hits recorded in these ballgames were singles. Hopefully the Pirates avoid so many appalling losses in 2013.

Photo: Gene Puskar/AP Photo

Season in Pictures: September 2012

September 7th, 2012
Josh Harrison commits one of the Pirates’ seven errors, as the Cubs cruised to a 12-2 victory.

September 10th, 2012
Brandon Phillips is plunked by Jared Hughes; nonsense ensued, as Phillips thought Hughes made a racist comment towards him. The Bucs were swept by the Redlegs.

September 27th, 2012
Travis Snider scales the outfield wall to make a ridiculous catch at Citi Field. However, the Pirates lost, 6-5, as R.A. Dickey won his 20th game.

September 28th, 2012
Homer Bailey celebrates after no-hitting the Pirates at PNC Park.

September 29th, 2012
Andrew McCutchen is greeted by his teammates at home plate after knocking a walk-off home run against the Reds.

October 3rd, 2012
Andrew McCutchen leaves the field for the final time in 2012 to a standing ovation in front of 20,000+ at PNC Park.

A new low

For the first time since 1971, the Pittsburgh Pirates were no-hit.  While Bob Gibson (1971) and Homer Bailey aren’t nearly on the same level, the disappointment and shame was still there.  It wasn’t necessarily the no-hitter that is disappointing.  It’s the result of the no-no.  With the 1-0 loss, a winning season is now impossible, making it TWO WHOLE DECADES since the Pirates have had a winning team.

Bailey was matched up with A.J. Burnett, who pitched a gem himself.  A.J. got himself into a bases-loaded-no-outs jam in the first, but escaped with just one run scoring on a sacrifice-fly as he rolled a double play to get out of the inning.  That would be all the Reds got off of Burnett in his eight innings of work.  He allowed just seven hits and struck out five, but it’s tough to top a near-perfect performance.

Homer Bailey asserted his dominance from the start, and the Bucs had no chance.  A few balls were hit hard by Pedro Alvarez and Travis Snider, but the lone chance the Pirates had was when Andrew McCutchen walked in the seventh – one of the two blemishes that kept Bailey from a perfect game, the other being an error by Scott Rolen.  Cutch swiped second with one out, which was risky, but it worked.  Then he just got greedy.  The next pitch, he was thrown out at third (looked safe, but the throw beat him) for the second out.  From that point, the no-hitter was pretty much immanent.  Alex Presley is now part of a trivia question – popping-out to the second baseman for the 27th out with a zero still in the “H” column.

Congrats to Bailey on his piece of baseball history.  No-hitters are awesome, but this one brought the Pirates down to rock bottom.

Pirates (76-81) – Reds (95-62)

Win: Bailey (13-10)
Loss: Burnett (16-9)


Go Bucs