First Pitch

First Pitch: Once Again, Starting Pitching is Keeping the Pirates as Contenders

First Pitch: Once Again, Starting Pitching is Keeping the Pirates as Contenders

If you look at the season numbers, the Pittsburgh Pirates don't have the best results from their starting rotation. They rank middle of the pack in ERA and xFIP, and rank last in the majors in WAR. However, the season numbers don't really tell the story of the current rotation. The season numbers include Wandy Rodriguez. They include struggles from Francisco Liriano before the All-Star break. They don't include full seasons from Vance Worley and Jeff Locke, as those two have only been helping the rotation since June.

The rotation the Pirates have now is looking good. They rank 8th in the majors and 4th in the NL in second half ERA. Their xFIP rank in the second half is 10th in the majors and 4th in the NL.

The Pirates have seen a lot of injuries to their offense. They've seen a bullpen with holes in the middle relief spots. And yet if the season ended today, they'd be in the playoffs, and that's largely due to their starting rotation. That's very similar to how they made the play...

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Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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