Pirates manager Clint Hurdle rarely ponders what could have been, but he took a moment to reflect on the previous week before the game Thursday as part of a discussion about his team's recent offensive struggles.
"You win the second game in Chicago, you need to put away that third game," Hurdle said. "You win the fourth game, then you get two starts here where you have shots to win. The pitching, outside the game in Chicago, has given us a chance to put things together."
The Pirates had scored 3.17 runs per game in their previous 12 games, 10 of which were losses, entering the game Thursday against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Before Thursday, they had scored an average of 4.09 runs per game this season. Hurdle said the offense has struggled to adapt as its effectiveness has declined.
"You cannot continue to do things the way you've been doing them and expect different results," Hurdle said.
"It's the definition of insanity. We've all talked about it. We've heard it.
"There's times you've just got to sell out to a different approach. Your approach is not working. Trying to hit the fastball all night against some of these pitchers is not going to get us where we need to go. We have not made good adjustments."
In nine of their previous 12 games, the Pirates had scored three or fewer runs.
Consecutive seven- and nine-run games against the Chicago Cubs combined to raise the average over the 12-game stretch.
Hurdle said the Pirates are getting pitches to hit, and the way opposing pitchers approach them has not caught them off guard.
"When you start not getting the results you want, I think people have a tendency to want to do something big and impactful," Hurdle said. "I'm seeing that again."
Jeff Karstens said his hip felt good after he pitched three innings of relief Wednesday, but Karstens and Hurdle were unsure if he would make another start.
The appearance was Karstens' first since Aug. 31, when he left his start against the Brewers because of pain in his right hip.
"I felt better this time than I had recently," Karstens said.
"That was encouraging. It's just a matter of getting back out there again, whenever they hand me the ball."
"We'll look for more opportunities," said Hurdle.
"We'll continue to look at the schedule and keep our temperature on the guys that are pitching and see what might break for Jeff"
Hurdle said he was not thrilled with the notion that San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera, who leads the National League in batting average despite being suspended after testing positive for testosterone, can win the batting title.
"I'm not a fan of it," Hurdle said. "Rules are rules, the way it's set up I'm not so sure that anything could be done about it. You like to see the batting title, or any title won on the field -- unless there's been an injury in play, where the guy physically gets hurt -- but by being removed from the game by making a bad choice, it's probably not the best way for it to end."
Commissioner Bud Selig told reporters Wednesday that Major League Baseball likely won't prevent Cabrera, who was hitting .346 before his suspension, from winning the batting title.
Andrew McCutchen entered the game Thursday hitting .340.