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The Pirates' offense is historically bad

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer
Clint Hurdle

Sunday's 5-1 loss to the Cardinals means that the Pirates have now scored 30 runs in 15 games, which, tidily enough, means they're scoring a measly 2.0 runs per game.

Yes, it's still very early in the season, and offense tends to increase with the temperature. Still, across 515 plate appearances on the year, the Pirates are putting up some awful offensive numbers. If paces hold, then the Pirates will score 324 runs on the year. That would be the lowest season-long team total in the post-1900 era. And, yes, that includes the strike-shortened 1981 season, when no team played more than 111 games. Chew on that for a moment.

And what if you plumb the data from back in baseball's "primodial soup" days of the 19th century? You must go back to the 1891 Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association to find a team that scored fewer than 324 runs in a season. The Brewers that year tallied 227 runs, but they did so in just 36 games played. In other words, the 2012 Buccos, should all of this hold up, may have the worst offense in the history of history of ever.

There's more ... As a team, the Pirates are "hitting" .202/.249/.281 on the year, and if you remove Andrew McCutchen's strong numbers, then the team batting average drops to .182. In a totally related matter, Pittsburgh this season has scored one or zero runs in seven out of 15 games, which comes to 46.7% of its contests. Draw that out to a full season, and the Pirates will score one run or fewer in (roughly) 76 games. Since 1918 (the back end of available data), the 1965 Mets come the closest to such a mark with 58.

Again, it's early, and the Pirates will almost certainly improve in the coming weeks (how could they not?), but there's reason to believe this could shape up to be one of the worst run-scoring attacks in some time.

If it's any consolation to Pirate fans, the Phillies haven't been much better.

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