PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 16:  Matt Joyce #17 of the Pittsburgh Pirates rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run in the seventh inning during the game against the Atlanta Braves at PNC Park on May 16, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

Game 37: Pirates 8 Braves 5

After seeing so much of the Cubs lately, it’s nice to be on the other end of a game in which one team could do no right and the other easily loped to victory. The Braves kicked the ball around in the first inning, and the Pirates scored three times because of it. Jon Niese’s […]

LAKELAND, FL- MARCH 01:  Alen Hanson #59 of the Pittsburgh Pirates slides in safe on a RBI single in the seventh inning against Bryan Holaday #50 of the Detroit Tigers during the game at Joker Marchant Stadium on March 1, 2016 in Lakeland, Florida.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Alen Hanson arrives (and the Pirates play the Braves)

The Pirates put Starling Marte on the paternity leave list this afternoon and called up Alen Hanson to fill his roster spot. Hanson has spent the last week or so starting in left field for Indianapolis, and obviously both Marte and the Pirates knew that this situation was approaching, so my presumption is that they’ve […]

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 15:  Starting pitcher Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers the ball against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 15, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Game 36: Pirates 2 Cubs 1

I’m certain that I wrote something similar at this point almost exactly a year ago, but when a season starts like this one, there comes a point at which you stop worrying about the standings and the number of games behind you, are start worrying solely about your own business and hope that something that’s […]

I don’t care what day it is, it’s time for a little urgency

It’s May 13th, sure, but the Pirates are seven games behind a Cub team loaded with talent that was off to an all-time great start before losing both ends of a double-header on Wednesday. The Pirates can’t erase seven games this weekend, but they can cut into that lead a little bit (or a lot! […]

CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 11: Jung Ho Kang #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts after hitting a solo home run against the Cincinnati Reds in the seventh inning of the game at Great American Ball Park on May 11, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Pirates defeated the Reds 5-4. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Game 33: Pirates 5 Reds 4 (or, desperately looking for meaning in May)

I will admit that last week’s ugly sweep at the hands of the Cubs has made it awfully difficult for me to figure out how to process May baseball in 2016. Even after losing a double-header to the Padres yesterday, the Cubs are massive favorites in the NL Central: Baseball Prospectus has them at 93.3% […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 3:  Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates can't make a catch alongside Gregory Polanco #25 on a ball hit by Kris Bryant #17 (not pictured) during the fourth inning on May 3, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

The Gravity of the Situation: Game 28: Cubs 6 Pirates 2

Here is The Real Deal At Least As Far As I See It: There comes a point where being good ceases to be sufficient. I don’t know honestly how to draw that line and if we were to phrase it as a question (When does being good cease being good enough?) I don’t even know […]

At some point this year Jake Arrieta will probably lose a game

After laying an egg last night, the Pirates get to face the beard-in-human-form that’s haunted their dreams since last October tonight. This is about as unpleasant as a matchup gets; lose on Monday with your ace on the mound, then send Jon Niese out to face Jake Arrieta in the second game of a series. […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 02:  John Jaso #28 of the Pittsburgh Pirates flips his bat as he walks back to the dugout after striking out in the seventh inning during the game against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on May 2, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

Game 26: Cubs 7 Pirates 2

The danger of big divisional games in early May is that it is almost impossible to watch the Pirates squander opportunities and make dumb/bad plays in the field with Gerrit Cole operating at less than top capacity, and not think about the futility of winning 98 games with a certain wild card game awaiting you, […]

DENVER, CO - APRIL 26:  at Coors Field on April 26, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Pirates defeated Rockies 9-4. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The value of May baseball

This week, the Cubs come to PNC Park for a three-game series. After the series ends, the Pirates will travel to St. Louis for three games, then go to Cincinnati for three, then to Wrigley Field for three more. It’s only May 2nd and the Pirates are off to a solid 15-10 start, so it’s […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 1:  Adam Duvall #23 of the Cincinnati Reds scores in front of Chris Stewart #19 of the Pittsburgh Pirates during the ninth inning on May 1, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Game 25: Reds 6 Pirates 5

It is tempting and not incorrect to say that not all baseball teams can win all games and that even teams like the Pirates lose to teams like the Reds from time to time. That doesn’t make this loss any less frustrating. The Reds had to scratch Raisel Iglesias on Saturday and give a start […]

Keeping pace

The Pirates, you are certainly aware, have won five in a row and seven of eight, to run their record to 14-9, which is a very good record after 23 games (“on-pace for” stats are dumb and entirely unhelpful in April but the Pirates are on a 98-99 win pace, which means that we can […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 29:  Juan Nicasio #12 and Francisco Cervelli #29 of the Pittsburgh Pirates walk to the dugout before the game against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on April 29, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Game 23: Pirates 4 Reds 1

After a week of playing a sport that only vaguely resembled baseball in Arizona and Colorado this week, the Pirates’ fifth straight win looked a lot more to my eye like the Pirates of 2013-2015. Juan Nicasio threw seven brilliant shutout innings, striking out eight and holding the Reds to just three hits. The Pirates […]

Don’t look past the Reds

The Pirates are, despite their pitching woes, playing relatively good baseball right now; they won five times in six games against the Diamondbacks and Rockies, and their 13-9 record is slowly climbing up the National League standings. They’re going to open May with two huge series against the Cubs (at home) and in St. Louis. […]

DENVER, CO - APRIL 27:  Jordy Mercer #10 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a go-ahead RBI double in the 12th inning as catcher Nick Hundley #4 of the Colorado Rockies looks on at Coors Field on April 27, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Game 22: Pirates 9 Rockies 8

The good news, if i you can call it that, is that the Pirates just played a game on Sunday in which they had a big lead, their bullpen blew said big lead, and the offense bailed everyone out, and so we already know how to feel about last night’s way-too-close-for-comfort 9-8 win over the […]

Jon Niese looks to keep the Pirates rolling

Inside of a week the Pirates have gone from a horrible ball of stress and frustration to a vaunted offense bludgeoned their way towards the upper part of the National League. This is possible because it’s only April, of course, but it’s a welcome change from the week that preceded it. Jon Niese takes the […]

DENVER, CO - APRIL 26:  Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates grounds out to shortstop Cristhian Adames #18 of the Colorado Rockies in the eighth inning at Coors Field on April 26, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Pirates defeated Rockies 9-4.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Game 21: Pirates 9 Rockies 4

I suppose this goes without saying, but when I type something like perhaps a struggling lefty and Coors Field are what Andrew McCutchen needs to get jump-started, I don’t actually expect the result to be that Andrew McCutchen goes out and lights the Rockies up for three home runs. McCutchen did exactly that, though, launching […]

Gerrit Cole faces the Rockies

Gerrit Cole’s strong start against the Padres last week avoided a sweep in Petco Park and kick-started a solid turn of the rotation for the Pirates, with four wins in five games. Cole’s been solid ever since his rough first inning against the Reds in his first start. After Locke focused entirely on fastballs and […]