Pirates Notebook: Andrew McCutchen Scratched From Lineup

What a two months it has been for Starling Marte. The Pirates left fielder has evolved from a potential-packed-but-raw leadoff hitter to a possible All-Star. Marte was set to have a day off before the team’s scheduled off-day Monday, but Andrew McCutchen is a late scratch due to right knee soreness, so Marte will instead play center field. Let’s look at what Marte has done this season: He is making contact on more pitches,...

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Pirates Notebook: Burnett Takes Mound As NL Strikeout Leader

A.J. Burnett will start Saturday night with the most strikeouts (72) in the National League and 25,000 bobbleheads with his face in the PNC Park stands. While he trails MLB leader Yu Darvish (86 strikeouts), Burnett faces a Houston offense that has struck out the most times in baseball this season. Burnett’s strikeout rate has jumped to a career-best 31.6%, but manager Clint Hurdle wants to make sure his staff ace is not only...

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Pirates Notebook: Robbie Grossman Finally Comes To Pittsburgh

Outfielder Robbie Grossman will make his PNC Park debut Friday night in the leadoff spot, five years after the Pirates drafted him in the sixth round. He won’t take the field in black and gold, but rather in blue and orange. Almost four years after he signed with the Pirates out of high school for $1 million, Grossman was traded to Houston (with pitching prospects Colton Cain and Rudy Owens) for left-hander Wandy Rodriguez....

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Pirates Notebook: Four Things We Have Learned About Pirates Pitchers

We took a look on Monday at five Pirates hitters and which stats have a large enough 2013 sample size for us to see year-to-year changes. Now it’s time for the pitchers. Remember a couple important caveats. First, batting statistics tend to be more reliable than pitching statistics, especially in small samples. Second, early-season pitcher performance can often be skewed by which teams the pitcher has faced. I’ve talked...

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Pirates Notebook: Five Things We Have Learned About Pirates Hitters

It’s a three-word term you will hear often early in the season: small sample size. Carlos Gomez leads the NL in batting average? Small sample size. Chris Davis is second in the majors in OPS? Small sample size. B.J. Upton is last in the NL in on-base percentage? You get the point. But not all early-season statistics are unreliable noise. If you’re looking in the right places, you can find stats that are indicative of a...

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Pirates Notebook: First-Pitch Strikes Key for Rodriguez

Wandy Rodriguez returned from injury Friday for the Pittsburgh Pirates and promptly mowed down the hottest team in baseball. Rodriguez was sharp from the beginning and allowed just one hit in seven innings and combined with Mark Melancon and Vin Mazzarro to face the minimum of 27 batters in the Pirates’ 6-0 win against the Braves at PNC Park. Of the 21 batters Rodriguez faced, he either threw a first-pitch strike or got the...

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