PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 26:  Neil Walker #18 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with Josh Harrison #5 after hitting a two run home run in the second inning during the game against the Miami Marlins at PNC Park on May 26, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Game 45: Pirates 5 Marlins 1

Honestly, it feels like someone just flipped a light switch on Federal Street after the Twins series. Last Wednesday, the Pirates were a bland, under-achieving, boring baseball team that couldn’t find a way to win a game against the Twins at home. They’ve made a full turn of the rotation since then, going 5-0 and […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 25:  Charlie Morton #50 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the first inning during the game against the Miami Marlins at PNC Park on May 25, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Game 44: Pirates 4 Marlins 2

I’ll be honest: my hopes weren’t all that high for Charlie Morton’s return tonight. This could be apocryphal, but it’s always seemed in the past like Morton’s first start back from his many trips to the disabled list were often rough, even if the starts after it were fine. Tonight was classic Charlie Morton, though. […]

BRADENTON, FL - MARCH 5: Charlie Morton #50 and Chris Stewart #19 of the Pittsburgh Pirates talk during the third inning of the game against the New York Yankees at McKechnie Field on March 5, 2015 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Charlie Morton’s return

Charlie Morton is not the most popular and is probably one of the most frustrating Pirates of recent memory. He’s obviously talented, but he’s almost always maddeningly inconsistent. I suspect that a lot of this has to do with his health; he’s had Tommy John surgery, got both of his hip labrums fixed, and dealt […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 24: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates following his two-run home run in the fifth inning against the New York Mets during the game at PNC Park on May 24, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Game 43: Pirates 9 Mets 1 (or: A good weekend at PNC Park)

These are the Pittsburgh Pirates we’ve been waiting six weeks for. Before the season began, the vision of the contending Pittsburgh Pirates was for the top of the rotation to be good, and for the offense to pound opponents into submission. These are some numbers: Pirates 21 Mets 4 Actually, the Pirates hit as many home […]

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 13: Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets  pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning on May 13, 2015 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

A pitcher’s weekend

Is there any sight in baseball better for a Pirate fan than Gerrit Cole on the mound, pumping 98 mph fastballs in the ninth inning? If that’s not enough to jump-start a baseball team, I don’t know what is. This Pirates/Mets series is an embarrassment of pitching riches; after last night’s awesome Cole/Syndergaard matchup, Matt […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 20: Brian Dozier #2 of the Minnesota Twins reacts following batter interference on an attempted steal by Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 10th inning during the game at PNC Park on May 20, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

“At this time last year …”

If there’s one trope that’s been driving me nuts for the last month, it’s the comparison between where this year’s Pirates are and were last year’s Pirates were on the same date or after the same number of games. I have two problems with this. One is that one bad start does not excuse another. […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 20:  Joe Mauer #7 of the Minnesota Twins is congratulated by third base coach Gene Gylnn #13 after hitting the game-winning solo home run in the 13th inning against  the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game at PNC Park on May 20, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Game 40: Twins 4 Pirates 3

I would hate to try and create a hierarchy of painful Pirate losses from the last month or so, but this game scores pretty highly because it introduced us to the image of Andrew McCutchen doing everything he can to drag his lackluster team to a win, but still falling short. When McCutchen came up […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 10: Jeff Locke #49 of the Pittsburgh Pirates walks off of the field after being pulled in the seventh inning against the St Louis Cardinals during the game at PNC Park on May 10, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Jeff Locke, whatever

Jeff Locke’s last start was really bad, and then somehow the Pirates gave the game a worse ending. I want to tell you that he’s pitching for his job, but he’s probably not because with Charlie Morton in Vance Worley’s spot, there’s not really anyone to take his job from him. The Pirates have lost […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 19:  Francisco Liriano #47 of the Pittsburgh Pirates takes a moment in between pitches in the second inning against the Minnesota Twins during the game at PNC Park on May 19, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Game 39: Twins 8 Pirates 5

After spending the better part of a week thinking about Francisco Liriano, worrying about Francisco Liriano, and fighting with people on the internet about Francisco Liriano, Liriano went out and laid a gigantic egg against his old team last night. The thing that is probably most relevant about Liriano’s season to this point is this: […]

DETROIT, MI - MAY 13:   at Comerica Park on May 13, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

An interleague interlude

I’ve said my piece about Francisco Liriano below. He starts tonight against his old team, the Twins. The Twins are off to a surprisingly good start (21-17), but they have a ridiculous pitching staff that almost refuses to strike hitters out. I suspect that the Pirates will do quite well against a staff like this, […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 08:  Francisco Liriano #47 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the first inning during the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park on May 8, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Francisco Liriano’s first eight starts

It’s relatively easy to figure out how the season is going for 80% of the rotation. Gerrit Cole has been fantastic, and he’s closer than ever to finally breaking out and living up to that “1-1″ tag the Pirates put on him four years ago. AJ Burnett is revitalized with the Pirates, throwing strikes and […]

He’s baaaaaaaack

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 17: (L-R) Starling Marte #6, Andrew McCutchen #22 and Gregory Polanco #25 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrate a win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 17, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Pirates defeated the Cubs 3-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Game 38: Pirates 3 Cubs 0

Here’s the thing about this particular Pittsburgh Pirate team: this was more or less a perfect baseball game today. AJ Burnett had some control issues, but it didn’t matter because he was virtually unhittable against the dynamic young Cub lineup. The defense made plays behind him: Andrew McCutchen made a fantastic sliding catch/pop-up throw double play, […]

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Game 35: Cubs 11 Pirates 10

The Cubs had leads of 7-1 and 10-5, but the Pirates managed to tie the game at 10. Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison had a bunch of big hits to key the comeback. In the tenth inning, the Cubs loaded the bases with one out. Matt Szczur hit a pop-up to right field, Gregory Polanco caught it, […]

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