The Pittsburgh Pirates pitching staff was strong for the first four months of the season, but saw a drop off in the months of August and September, as the team fell out of the playoff hunt. During April (combined 2.78 ERA) and May (3.71), the pitching kept the Pirates in games while the offense struggled to click. June (3.97) and July (3.74), the staff remained strong, but saw the regression during the final stretch of the 2012 season.
Veteran A.J. Burnett led the staff, finishing the season with a 3.51 ERA. Burnett's impact, not only on the mound, but in the clubhouse was strong. Burnett took several players under his wing -- James McDonald, Jeff Locke, Kyle McPherson -- who have all attributed learning a lot from Burnett. After Burnett's final start of the 2012 season on the final game, Manager Clint Hurdle said that he deserved the "Comeback Player-of-the-Year" award for his solid bounce back season with the Pirates after New York traded him prior to spring training.