Pirates Beat Braves 4-2 to Complete Successful Homestand

The Pittsburgh Pirates getting out to a 10-8 record to start 2013 would be far less impressive if half of those games were against, say, the Marlins, Padres and Astros. Strength of schedule plays a larger part in early-season stats and records than many of us want to recognize. Yes, the Texas Rangers are 12-6, but they have played 12 games against the Mariners, Cubs and Astros. So the Pirates capping off a 7-2 homestand is made even...

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A.J. Burnett: Anatomy of a One-Hitter

So many events have to go right for a no-hitter to happen. We sometimes lose sight of that, living in this Golden Age of 23 no-hitters in the last six years. Even with no-hitters becoming almost as common an occurrence as Clint Barmes home runs, they still require a potent combination of talent and good fortune to come true (you know, like a Clint Barmes home run). When looking at A.J. Burnett taking a perfect game into the 6th inning...

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Analysis: Teams Should Shift Their Infield More Against Garrett Jones

The Pirates did not need much help to hit into outs over the first week of the season, they were doing a good job all by themselves. Cubs manager Dale Sveum decided to make life a little more difficult for one of the Bucs’ best hitters, Garrett Jones. On Opening Day, Sveum shifted his infield to have three of his infielders on the right side. Jones hit into the shift in his first three at-bats, only reaching on a first-inning...

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Jonathan Sanchez Shelled As Pirates Lose Sweep Attempt 10-2

When baseball games that count are played in early April, most of the conclusions people draw are based around confirmation bias. These first nine games are no more significant than the nine games that will happen May 8-16 or June 15-23 or whenever. But conclusions are drawn at this point anyway, because all the stats that show up on the TV screen and scoreboard rely solely on these nine games and because we have not seen these...

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Pirates Notebook: Platooning Alvarez? Hurdle Says “No Way”

It was a great privilege to cover the Pirates this past weekend at Dodger Stadium. The team’s offense still has to make some drastic improvements to consistently score runs, and before I left Chavez Ravine, I asked some of the players and coaches how that will happen. No Platoon for Pedro Any Time Soon It is Clint Hurdle’s decision whether Pedro Alvarez will platoon in the ¬†immediate future, but the manager made it clear...

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