The Pirates spent most of May dominating. They didn't lose a series after losing two of three to the Nationals on May 3-5, they won six series in a row, including three four-game series, after splitting with the Mariners just after that Nationals series. They didnt lose two games in a row after losing to the Mariners on May 8 and the Mets on May 9th.
And so now they've been shut-out twice in a row by the Reds. The starting pitching has still been fine (or better than fine, in the case of Francisco Liriano last night) but the runs just haven't been there. It wasn't really hard to think that maybe there were some zeroes in the Pirates' future given that they'd won 1-0 four times in the 11 games prior to this Reds series and that two of the three wins immediately preceding it were both by a score of 1-0 and they took 11 innings to even get that one run.
This is pretty straightforward and obvious: the Pirates need to score more runs, not just in this series but going forward in general. The formula that got them to 34-20 was pretty straightforward: an average National League offense, an above average rotation, and an excellent bullpen. There is reason to believe that both the rotation and the bullpen will feel the effects of gravity at some point in the near future. Not that either is going to go up in a ball of flames on re-entry, just that they're probably coming back towards earth a bit. The team is best equipped to balance that by pushing forwards as a slightly above-average National League offense.
Remember that a Pirate centerfielder once said, "Every season has its peaks and valleys. What you have to do is try to eliminate the Grand Canyon." The Pirates have been in a bit of an offensive funk lately. Today is a good day to break out of it. Mat Latos takes the mound for the Reds. Jeanmar Gomez takes the mound for the Pirates. First pitch today is at 1:35.