Blog Entry

Pirates impressive early on

Posted on: April 6, 2011 6:24 pm
Edited on: April 6, 2011 6:27 pm

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Pirates are better than you think.

Is Pittsburgh going to challenge for the NL Central crown? No. Are they going to break their streak of losing seasons? Probably not. But they they will be better this season than they have been in many years and in the next couple of seasons, winning baseball in the Steel City may become a reality.

Pittsburgh has taken two of three from the Cardinals and Cubs to start the season, beating St. Louis 3-1 on Wednesday.

The main reason the Pirates are sitting at 4-2 is they have a legit top of their lineup.

Pittsburgh's top four hitters -- Jose Tabata, Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen and Lyle Overbay -- are hitting a combined .356/.434/.621 in the team's first games. Walker and McCutchen each have a pair of homers, with Overbay adding another.

That's not a pace the team can sustain, but McCutchen is on the edge of stardom, while Walker and Tabata are good, emerging players. Overbay is the type of player with better results than reputation. A career .274/.358/.447 hitter, he's unlikely to continue hitting .304/..385/.522, but shouldn't fall too far.

Walker's performance as a rookie last season was overshadowed by an historic first-year class, but he still put up a very good season, hitting .296/.349/.462 with 12 home runs in 110 games for his hometown team.  Tabata's prospect status took a hit in the last couple of years, but he too put up solid rookie numbers in 2010, hitting .299/.346/.400 in 102 games.

Add in Pedro Alvarez, Ryan Doumit and Garrett Jones, and there's the making of an effective offense.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Pirates are hitting .271/.333/.409 with six home runs. With that, the Pirates' starters have a 2.52 ERA through six games. That's unlikely to continue in a rotation of Kevin Correia, Paul Maholm, James McDonald, Charlie Morton and Ross Ohlendorf they've pitched well, with Correia picking up two wins so far this season and have made the Pirates anything but a pushover early.

Joel Hanrahan has been the rare closer in the big leagues to convert all of his save chances, recording the save in all four of the PIrates' wins this season.

It should also be noted that all six games have been on the road, where Pittsburgh had an MLB-worst 17-64 record a year ago.

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Since: Jun 11, 2008
Posted on: April 7, 2011 10:04 am

Pirates impressive early on

I tell myself the same thing every year in april dont get excited yet, but this is an exciting team as far as offense goes. literally there is only one person i dont feel good about coming to the plate with RISP and that is cedeno as long as the starters dont give up 6 every game we should be competitive. the bullpen seems to be able to play it close to the vest and bend not break (minus evan meeks hiccups) its a long season though. LETS GO BUCS!

Since: Jun 5, 2009
Posted on: April 6, 2011 11:30 pm

Pirates impressive early on

Loving the start of the year.  There's reason to hope, finally, for Pirates fans!

Since: Aug 29, 2007
Posted on: April 6, 2011 7:37 pm

Pirates impressive early on

The Pirates won 4 road series last year.

Since: Apr 21, 2010
Posted on: April 6, 2011 6:46 pm

Pirates impressive early on

It is early but it is nice to see some wins on the road! I think they only won 2 series all of last year and they have already won 2 this year! Hopefully they will draw some great crowds this week! Go Bucs

Since: Jul 12, 2009
Posted on: April 6, 2011 6:31 pm

Pirates impressive early on

I also am going to be cautiously optimistic; however, i can't deny the excitement I feel knowing we are much improved. Keep it up, Buccos!!!

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