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, […]

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 14: Freddy Galvis #13 of the Philadelphia Phillies high fives teammates after the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park on May 14, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 4-2. (Photo by Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)  *** Local Caption *** Freddy Galvis

Game 37: Phillies 4 Pirates 2

Should we talk about how Vance Worley got pounded in his four innings of work today, giving up eight hits and striking out no one? Or about how the defense behind him gave him absolutely no support, to the point that it almost feels ridiculous that anyone could’ve thought an infield with Neil Walker, Jordy […]

Game 34: Phillies 3 Pirates 2

This is pretty much the pre-game worst-case scenario that I was afraid of when I wrote about Liriano not quite being up to snuff lately. It’s not that a seven-inning, six-strikeout, three-walk, three-run performance is bad, just that it’s not good enough when your offense hands you a 2-0 lead against Cole Hamels and the worst […]

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 08: Starting pitcher Cole Hamels #35 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers a pitch in the second inning against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on May 8, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

A slightly rougher road

There is no doubt that the Pirate offense has been much improved over the last week. In their last six games, they’ve scored 34 runs and they’ve won five of those games. This has overlapped with Andrew McCutchen doubling his season extra base hit total, which is surely not coincidence. They haven’t faced much in the […]

PHILADELPHIA - MAY 12: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates bats in the third inning during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 12, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Pirates won 7-2. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

Game 33: Pirates 7 Phillies 2

It took a little while, but this game finally ended up where it looked like it was heading for the entire evening. The Pirates mostly scorched balls off of Sean O’Sullivan in the early going, but had pretty much nothing to show for it until Josh Harrison’s three-run fourth inning homer. AJ Burnett mowed through […]

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 21:  A.J. Burnett #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the bottom of the first inning at O.co Coliseum on September 21, 2014 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

AJ Burnett vs. his tormentors

Players talk about “home town discounts” all the time, but rarely has it borne itself out as dramatically as AJ Burnett’s return to Pittsburgh; he spent one ugly year in Philadelphia and then turned his nose up at $12-13 million dollars when it came time to decide on his player option. In the same breath, […]

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 11: Starling Marte #6 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a three-run home run in the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 11, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Game 32: Pirates 4 Phillies 3

This game was sort of a perfect archetype of a good team beating a bad team. Gerrit Cole constantly seemed on the edge of losing control tonight, but the Phillies just stood no chance against him. Cole ended up getting more fly balls than usual, but he still got through seven innings, struck out six, […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 06:  Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the first inning during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on May 6, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The Phillies are bad (and so the Pirates should beat them)

I feel a little bit like a broken record, but if the last two years have taught us anything about how the MLB season works, it’s that the best way to get into contention is to hold serve against the good teams and then beat the ever-loving crap out of the bad ones. The Phillies […]

Game 31: Pirates 4 Cardinals 3

One of the defining characteristics of last year’s Pirates was the way that no matter what went wrong, the Pirates had a player ready to solve their problem. Wandy Rodriguez can’t hack it anymore (apparently, this has changed)? Well, here’s a newly fixed Vance Worley. Pedro Alvarez lost the ability to throw to first base? […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 09: Neil Walker #18 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws to third base for the second out after catching the first of three outs on a triple play in the top of the second inning against the St Louis Cardinals during the game at PNC Park on May 9, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Game 30: Pirates 7 Cardinals 5

If there was one fear that I had from the Pirates’ ugly run of games against NL Central teams over these last two weeks, it was that the Pirates were wasting great performances from their starting pitching that wouldn’t last, and that when the Pirates’ bats finally came around, the pitching would no longer be […]

ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 2: Starter Francisco Liriano #47 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the second inning at Busch Stadium on May 2, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Pirates and Cardinals: Round 2

Saying that the Pirates’ current eight-game deficit in the NL Central isn’t a big deal because it’s “early” in the season is true, but it’s something that only holds true if the Pirates don’t get any further behind the Cardinals and if the Pirates start to play better against National League Central teams. Depending on […]

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 22: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a sixth inning solo home run against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on September 22, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Jeff Sullivan on Andrew McCutchen’s swing

Yesterday I linked to Forbes to Federal’s excellent analysis of Andrew McCutchen’s slump, and today at FOX, Jeff Sullivan takes the analysis of McCutchen’s swing a bit further to fully diagnose what’s wrong with the Pirates’ best player. In short, if you look at the McCutchen of the past you can see him drive so […]

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