I'm holding back blaming Ritchie. At the start of the season fans were calling for his head. But when the players suddenly remembered how to HIT, Ritchie became a near-genius for "turning things around".
These Ks indicate to me that the players are struggling all around - trying too hard to do too much too soon in their at-bats, and failing. I bet both Ritchie and Hurdle are exasperating themselves telling the boys to FOCUS on their goal at the moment - whether it's to advance a runner, hit to the right instead of the left, work the count, or whatever.
This slump and the Ks that fill it are directly the fault of the men with the bats in their hands. They need to stop trying so hard, stop thinking so deeply.
Well, athletes that do incredible things end up on a box of Wheaties. The Pirates are unique.
They want their picture on a box of "Special K"
Yep, the number of Ks on this team is criminal - and has been since the start of the season.
It really came to a head in the Cardinals and Padres series' this week. Night before the 19-inning game, I believe, bases loaded in the eighth, middle of the order up - Alvarez Ks for the first out, Jones Ks after a 3-0 count and the Pirates end up with zilch.
Is Pedro, in particular, kidding? He's three-pitches-and-sit-down so often that if it's a 5-pitch at-bat, he gets patted on the butt for going deep in the count. And gotta love Cutch, but wow - he's recently been making an art form out of K-ing in big RBI situations.
Wild card season or not - if Ritchie's the batting coach next year, sumthin smells in Pittsburgh. Apart from Neil Walker, virtually nobody else on this team displays any awareness of situational hitting or working the count.
When half of the team's outs in any given game come from Ks, it's incredibly hard to win. Not making contact is the ultimate "bad out." For an offense that's already challenged, Ks only amplify the weakness.
Now that the homers have dropped off, we're seeing that excessive Ks definitely can cost you the game - this team's playing like it's May again, and the record reflects it.