PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 02:  Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts after being hit by a pitch from the Arizona Diamondbacks during the ninth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on August 2, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Pirates defeated the Diamondbacks 8-3.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

A return to the scene of the crime

After a reasonably successful opening home stand, the Pirates are headed out for their first extended road trip of 2015. They’re in Arizona tonight, which you probably remember as the place where a bad baseball team full of bullshit machismo injured Andrew McCutchen last August because Ernesto Frieri was bad at baseball. Kirk Gibson is […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 23: Gregory Polanco #25 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits an RBI single in the seventh inning against the Chicago Cubs during the game at PNC Park on April 23, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Game 16: Pirates 5 Cubs 4

When the lineups were announced before this game and I saw Starling Marte on the bench with his hand problem and Andrew McCutchen out with a scheduled off day, I thought to myself, “Well, this is doable if Gregory Polanco does everything by himself.” As it turned out, he almost did, though he got a […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 18:  Jeff Locke #49 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts after the Milwaukee Brewers scored on a sacrifice fly in the first inning during the game at PNC Park on April 18, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Jeff Locke tries to get the Pirates a split with the Cubs

It’s only been two games, but I’ve been quite impressed with the 2015 version of Jeff Locke. I don’t like to jump to too many conclusions based on just a couple of games, but Locke’s control looks vastly improved this year and his ground balls are way up. Obviously Locke’s control has varied pretty widely […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 22: Tony Watson #44 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs during the game at PNC Park on April 22, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Game 15: Pirates 4 Cubs 3

Well, that was exhausting. With Mark Melancon “unavailable” last night (we’ll see where things go from there), it seemed like the Pirates were in great shape after Rob Scahill got the last out in the sixth inning for Vance Worley. Caminero in the seventh, Hughes in the eighth, Watson in the ninth with a 4-1 lead […]

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The next day

The long and short of it is this: last night was awful enough that it makes me not particularly want to care about the Pirates tonight, but the season is young enough that last night doesn’t have to matter. It would be nice if the Pirates somehow found a way to split this series with […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 21: Jung Ho Kang #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a bases-clearing RBI double in the seventh inning against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on April 21, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Game 14: Cubs 9 Pirates 8

The end of this game felt inevitable in the worst way possible. After a roller-coaster game that saw the Cubs with leads of 1-0 and 4-2, the Pirates with leads of 2-1, 5-4, and 8-5, and ties at 1-1 and 5-5, Mark Melancon stood on the mound with an 8-6 lead. Seeing what this dynamic […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 15:  Francisco Liriano #47 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the third inning against the Detroit Tigers while wearing the #42 to commemorate Jackie Robinson Day during the game at PNC Park on April 15, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Let’s try this again

Look, I’ll admit it: seeing Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant turn around 100 mph fastballs to create a late-game rally for the Chicago Cubs is disquieting. There is a voice in my head screaming, “RED ALERT! RED ALERT! I THOUGHT WE HAD MORE TIME BEFORE THE CUBS WERE READY!” right now. It’s early in the […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 20:  Kris Bryant #17 of the Chicago Cubs slides safely into home plate on an error by Francisco Cervelli #29 of the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game at PNC Park on April 20, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Game 13: Cubs 5 Pirates 2

In the first inning, it looked like the Pirates were going to get to Jake Arrieta. Josh Harrison hit a sharp ground ball up the middle that Starlin Castro made a really slick play on, then Gregory Polanco scorched a single to center, stole second, scored on Andrew McCutchen’s single, then McCutchen moved to third […]

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 19: Kris Bryant #17 of the Chicago Cubs flies out against the San Diego Padres during the eighth inning on April 19, 2015 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)

This is the most anticipated Pirates/Cubs game in years

Much of the 2014/2015 off-season was spent talking about the Cubs. They signed Jon Lester, poached Joe Maddon away from the Rays, they have a huge stable of minor league talent, they kept Kris Bryant in the minor leagues to save a season of service time despite having more money than Croesus, etc. etc. etc. […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 19:  Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the second inning against the Milwaukee Brewers during the game at PNC Park on April 19, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Game 12: Pirates 5 Brewers 2

I suppose there are a lot of things that we could focus on with this win, but Gerrit Cole’s third inning is what sticks in my memory. Cole loaded up the bases in the first before escaping with a flyout, then gave up two runs in the second that immediately erased the Pirates’ early 2-0 […]

Photo by Justin K. Aller, Getty Images

Starling Marte shoulders the load, Cole looks to lead Pirates to sweep

There’s something particularly wonderful and gratifying about what’s happened at PNC Park the last two nights: the Pirates came into this series against the Brewers mired in a terrible offensive slump with an ugly record. The starting rotation got off to an excellent start, but there just weren’t many runs to go around. Two games in […]

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It’s time to string some wins together

There were a lot of positives in last night’s game for the Pirates; with the offense mired in a pretty ugly funk, both Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte had multi-hit games to help spark the Pirates to score some runs against a pitcher that shut them down just a few days ago. Polanco had three […]

Have to wake up bats

First off, a bit of news: Chris Stewart’s disabled list stint is over, so he’s back with the Pirates and Tony Sanchez is headed back to Indianapolis. I strongly suspect that Sanchez will be back before long, but I suppose we’ll see. For now, there wasn’t much that Sanchez was going to be able to […]

OSAKA, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 12:  Mark Melancon #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against Samurai Japan in the eighth inning during the Game one of Samurai Japan and MLB All Stars at Kyocera Dome Osaka on November 12, 2014 in Osaka, Japan.  (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

On the impending Mark Melancon crisis

You, as a Pirate fan, have almost certainly seen some of the things being written about Mark Melancon’s alarmingly decreased velocity to open the 2015 season. I’m a little behind on this one (I apologize that I’m just getting to this now, I’m awfully crunched for time at the moment between TAing and trying to not be a […]

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