Pirates Notebook: Pitchers Buying Into The Pickoff; Burnett Has His Best Outing

It’s starting to become a familiar sight this Spring to see a Pirates pitcher picking off a runner at first. On Thursday, James McDonald started the game by allowing a single, then erased the runner with a pickoff to first. Today, A.J. Burnett started the game the same way. Darin Mastroianni started the game with a single, but was immediately picked off by Burnett at first. “I know they’re going to run on Burnett. I...

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Pirates Notebook: Clichés Are True in the Short Term, Useless in the Long Term

It’s very cliché. You hear it all the time during Spring Training right after a starter had a bad outing. “This is one of those outings in Spring Training, you walk away, you say he got his work in, you move on,” Clint Hurdle said after today’s game with a laugh, describing A.J. Burnett’s outing. The right-hander was pulled in the second inning of today’s game, giving up four runs on four hits and...

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Pirates Notebook: Leroux Getting His Strength Back; Burnett’s Spring Prep

When I was looking over Chris Leroux’s stats for the 2013 Annual, I noticed two red flags in his pitch selection. First, I noticed that he was leaning more on his slider in 2012. In 2010 and 2011 the right-hander threw his fastball around 63% of the time. In 2012, that number dropped down to 41.8%. The second thing I noticed was that Leroux’s fastball velocity dropped. He was averaging around 93-94 MPH in 2010-2011, but...

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Pirates Name Burnett Opening Day Starter

Clint Hurdle has announced today that A.J. Burnett will be his Opening Day starter when the Pirates take on the Chicago Cubs on Monday, April 1st at PNC Park. He has also announced that Wandy Rodriguez will get the start in game two on Wednesday night. After that, the rest of the rotation has yet to be decided. In his first season with the team last year, Burnett went 16-10, 3.51 in 31 starts, with 180 strikeouts in 202.1 innings. The...

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First Pitch: The Starting Pitching Depth

With yesterday’s news that the Pirates were adding Jonathan Sanchez, and today’s news that they’re still on track to sign Francisco Liriano, the starting pitching scene is getting crowded. Here is a breakdown of all the options who are either currently on the team, or in the case of Sanchez/Liriano, expected to sign. Guarantees for the Rotation A.J. Burnett - Burnett had a 3.51 ERA in 202.1 innings last year, and his...

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