Currently both clubs are remaining respectably mediocre (the A's are 11-12 as we write this; the Pirates 9-12) because their mostly unheralded pitching staffs are near the top of their respective leagues.
But their lack of punch is, at least in the early going, flirting with all-time lows. The A's are averaging 2.9 runs per game, which still leaves a good bit of wiggle room with the old Washington Senators, who only socred 2.45 per game back in 1909 en route to a 42-110 season.
The Pirates, however, are averaging just over 2.3 runs per game (though their estimated runs scored is low by close to 20%, suggesting that they've been having trouble hitting with runners on base: their actual R/G is close to half a run below where it should be) and are giving the 1908 Cardinals and Dodgers a run for their money as the most punchless team in NL history.
So far, well-known veteran pitchers (Bartolo Colon for the A's; A. J. Burnett and the oft-injured Erik Bedard for the Bucs) have been leading the way for their newly-adopted teams. These guys were all top-flight starters at one point or another in the past decade, but the number of people who expected any of these three to be enjoying a major career resurgence in 2012 could be counted on the fingers of one hand.
|Brandon Inge, upon hearing that the A's plan to|
bat him in the #2 slot in their batting order...
The A's are about to embark on a portion of their schedule where they'll be playing some of the AL's better teams, including most of the teams in the East, so things may get a good bit dicier for them over the next several weeks; the Bucs will mostly avoid such a fate in the first half of May. Either way, however, it's hard to see either team suddenly developing much run-scoring ability...we might be looking at a couple of teams that will actually score fewer than 500 runs in a season. Who woulda thunk it possible?