First Pitch: Aside From Francisco Liriano, Who Should Be in the Pirates’ Playoff Rotation?
Sep18

First Pitch: Aside From Francisco Liriano, Who Should Be in the Pirates’ Playoff Rotation?

The Pittsburgh Pirates haven’t clinched anything yet. But it’s becoming quite clear that this team is going to the playoffs. They currently sit 2.5 games back in the NL Central, 2.5 games back from the first Wild Card spot, and 2.5 games in the lead for the second Wild Card spot. The Milwaukee Brewers are the only threat to their playoff chances, and the red-hot Pirates play Milwaukee at home this weekend. They follow that...

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First Pitch: An Early Look at the Depth Out of Indianapolis in 2015
Sep17

First Pitch: An Early Look at the Depth Out of Indianapolis in 2015

Today we started our 2014 season recap series by looking at the 2014 Indianapolis Indians. As the Triple-A team, Indianapolis obviously provides the depth for the Pirates throughout the year. This year the depth wasn’t that strong on the position player side, although the additions of Vance Worley, Jeff Locke, and Brandon Cumpton helped the rotation at times throughout the year. With the Indianapolis recap coming today, it...

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First Pitch: Did You Even Realize This Once Important Milestone Was Approaching?
Sep16

First Pitch: Did You Even Realize This Once Important Milestone Was Approaching?

The first MLB game I ever covered live was on June 24th, 2011. I was going up to cover the debut of Chase d’Arnaud, back when he was one of the top prospects in the system. There was also the chance to cover a Pirates team that looked like they might be contenders, flirting around .500 in a weak division. I remember the game well, not because of d’Arnaud’s debut, but because it was against the Red Sox, and had the...

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First Pitch: How Much Will Josh Harrison Be Worth in Arbitration?
Sep15

First Pitch: How Much Will Josh Harrison Be Worth in Arbitration?

Josh Harrison is in a very unique situation. He’s having a breakout season in 2014, and contending for the batting title, after looking like a bench player for his first three years in the majors, and at times looking like he didn’t belong in the majors at all. The breakout season is coming at the right time, since Harrison is about to enter his first year of arbitration. The arbitration process relies on comparable...

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First Pitch: Jeff Locke Having Another Poor Second Half, Only This One is a Surprise
Sep14

First Pitch: Jeff Locke Having Another Poor Second Half, Only This One is a Surprise

Jeff Locke is currently having another poor second half. Last year it was predictable. He posted a 2.15 ERA in 109 innings during the first half, with a 4.21 xFIP that suggested things wouldn’t go so well in the second half. And things didn’t go well. Locke’s control bottomed out in the second half, with a 5.8 BB/9 ratio, helping to lead to a 6.12 ERA and a 4.14 xFIP. This year it looked like Locke would be getting...

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First Pitch: So This is What the Other Side of The Collapse Looks Like
Sep13

First Pitch: So This is What the Other Side of The Collapse Looks Like

Pittsburgh Pirates fans are familiar with a second half collapse. The 2011 team was contending in July, thanks mostly to a weak division. That team wasn’t really a strong contender, and ended up fading down the stretch. The 2012 team was much better than the 2011 team, which made the second half collapse even worse. We may be seeing The Collapse from the other side of the equation this year. At the end of June, the Milwaukee...

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