MILWAUKEE -- The Pirates continued their limp to the finish line Friday night in Miller Park, getting thoroughly beaten by the Brewers, 10-1.
But hey, at least they hit a home run. It had been awhile since that had happened. Six games, to be exact. Or 64 consecutive innings, if you prefer.
It was the third longest streak, by game, anywhere in Major League Baseball this season. The Royals once went eight games without a homer and the Marlins seven. Both cold spells came in May. The Pirates hadn't had a spell this long since 2015.
That was until Adam Frazier got a center-center fastball in the seventh inning and managed to put it in the seats in right:
"You don't like getting shutout and Frazier put one on the board for us, so that's big," Bryan Reynolds was telling me at his locker.
Could finally hitting a home run be a morale win, regardless of the circumstances surrounding it? Perhaps, but a well-placed 358 foot fly ball does not negate the fact the Pirates have had poor power numbers all year.
While they are flirting with the 1996 team's franchise record of 171 home runs in a season, it is coming at a time when half of the league is hitting a record setting amount of homers. Their 160 home runs as a team are the fourth fewest in baseball, ahead of only the Marlins, Tigers and Royals. Those four teams are also the only clubs who failed to homer in at least 60 different games this season.
"It's hard to look at a guy in the lineup and say, 'hey, start hitting home runs... would everybody hit two or three tonight,'" Clint Hurdle said before the game. "Why are we not barreling the ball up I think is the appropriate question and the most accurate question, and I think we've diagnosed why that's happened."
Hurdle said there was a new plan in place for this series, but at least for the first day, it was the same result as the Mariners series: Not a lot of offense.
To be fair, Josh Bell and Starling Marte were out again Friday. With the season nearing its end, there is a chance neither will return to the lineup this year. The two have combined for 60 of the team's 160 homers, or 37.5%. Any lineup would have a significant drop-off after losing their number three and four hitters.
The Pirates have not necessarily been a poor hitting team. Their position players have combined for a .767 OPS, 15th in baseball. Their 703 runs scored are ranked 20th, but a strong finish could put them comfortably in the middle of the pack.
"I think we have one of the best offenses in the league," Reynolds said. "Whatever lull we had is nothing to worry about because we have a lot of talent 1-through-9, so it's just a matter of time."
They just have not hit for a power in a time when the ball is juiced and almost everyone else is.
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