With the acquisition of Marlon Byrd the Pirates eliminated the gaping black hole that had existed in right field all season. Although the absence of Starling Marte, on the DL in left field is huge, Jose Tabata has been playing very well in his place. He has an .879 OPS this month, which is second on the team to Andrew McCutchen.
Now on to the other black hole: First base.
Here's a good argument for you: Which of the two first basemen -- Garrett Jones and Gaby Sanchez -- has been more awful this season?
What looked like an exceptional platoon for the Pirates has turned highly unproductive.
Jones has had two good months this season, April and July. But he's mired in a deep, deep slump that shows no sign of ending. He's batting .119 (7-for-59) in August with a .452 OPS. He has one hit in his last 29 at bats.
Sanchez has numbers that might impress. He continues to have an excellent OPS (.979) in the limited time the Pirates face left-handed pitching. He is second on the team, overall, with a .353 on-base percentage, behind only McCutchen.
What's not to like? Plenty.
He badly fails the eye test. He's supposed to be a power-hitting first baseman. He hit four home runs in April and played the part. But he's had three since -- all in June.
While his on-base percentage is nice, his slugging percentage is laughable. It's .402 for the season. In July it was .333, in August it is 354. He is badly failing the power aspect of his position.
At least, Sanchez brings something to the table with his on-base percentage. Jones has done nothing for too long. It was suggested here yesterday that manager Clint Hurdle might want to give Andrew Lambo a chance to play first base against right-handed pitching.
Jones has been out of the starting lineup the past two games, once when a right-handed pitcher started. More than likely, Hurdle will get Jones back in there and hope the mini-rest, he pinch-hit once, will help.
But the Pirates can't stay too much longer with Jones.