PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 11: Jung Ho Kang #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates congratulates teammate pitching coach Bob McClure #22 after he scored in the third inning at Citizens Bank Park on May 11, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Jung Ho Kang is on fire

I’ll be the first to admit it; I was skeptical of Jung Ho Kang. When the Pirates signed him this winter, my initial thought was that it was a worthy risk to take and that maybe he’d develop into a decent hitter for the Bucs eventually, but that the learning curve from the KBO to […]

SAN DIEGO, CA - MAY 28:  Jung Ho Kang #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates is congratulated by Pedro Alvarez #24 and Starling Marte #6, after hitting a three-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park May 28, 2015 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

Game 47: Pirates 11 Padres 5

One of my favorite things to be able to do when the Pirates are playing well is to look at a matchup before a game starts, say, “Man, this pitcher sure is giving up a lot of home runs; the Pirates should be able to take advantage of that,” and then watch them go out […]

SAN DIEGO, CA- APRIL 9:  A general view of the exterior of Petco Park before the start of the Los Angeles Dodgers against the San Diego Padres MLB game on April 9, 2009 at Petco Park in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Late-night baseball

Here’s the thing about winning streaks: they can’t ever be long enough. The Pirates have won six straight games, but the Cardinals have won four in a row and the Pirates are still 6 1/2 games behind them. Even with six straight wins, the Pirates have AJ Burnett on the mound tonight and Francisco Liriano […]

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Pitcher Nick Kingham #62 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a portrait on photo day on February 26, 2015 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Nick Kingham has Tommy John surgery

The Pirates announced today that pitching prospect Nick Kingham has undergone Tommy John surgery. This news has been coming for a while (Kingham left his start on May 6th with elbow soreness and the team has been silent about it since then beyond saying he was going for a second opinion, which is never good […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 27:  Jung Ho Kang #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a two RBI single in the seventh inning during the game against the Miami Marlins at PNC Park on May 27, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Game 46: Pirates 5 Marlins 2

This is the difference a week makes: When Christian Yelich hit his seventh inning home run to put the Marlins ahead of the Pirates 2-0, I thought to myself, “I don’t think that’s going to be enough.” The Pirates hadn’t done much at the plate to that point, but knowing the way that they’ve been […]

Gerrit Cole looks to lead Pirates to sweep of Marlins

Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you’re on a five-game winning streak and the sixth game is started by Gerrit Cole and Brad Hand, then a five-game winning streak won’t be good enough. I didn’t get a chance to talk about Cole’s last start against the Mets much, so let me take some time […]

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 […]

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