Pirates competing despite scoring woes

Pirates competing despite scoring woes

PITTSBURGH -- This year's Pirates could be a special team. Fans may have to pull the plug on their 21st-century sensibilities and just enjoy the pitching ride. In the first two games of the series against the Cubs, Pittsburgh fell short of even its meager scoring average, and still won both.

With 130 runs through 46 games, the Pirates are on track for a 70-year low in scoring for a full Major League season. It may still seem outrageous, but wouldn't it be something if such a blemish coincided with the end of the club's drag of 19 consecutive losing seasons?

As they say in the dugout, however, sometimes you've just got to tip your cap to the pitchers -- and to their guides: pitching coach Ray Searage and catchers Rod Barajas and Michael McKenry. These Pirates may continue to be one-dimensional, but for over a quarter of the season, it's been quite a dimension.

Pittsburgh started play on Sunday within two games of the .500 mark, despite having scored three runs or fewer in 28 of 48 games; the Bucs won eight of those 28. The National League Central-leading Reds have three wins when scoring three or fewer.

At their current pace, the Pirates will score 457 runs, which would be the lowest full-season total since the wartime 1942 Phillies scored 394. Those Phillies were 67 games under .500.

In the post-1961 expansion era, the lowest runs total for a 162-game schedule is 463, by the 1968 White Sox. The 1963 Astros hold the NL-low of 464 runs.