Pedro Alvarez scored the first of four Pirates' runs in the victory. Photo credit: David Hague

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 more impressive by the fact that they did it against three of the NL's best teams. They swept the Cincinnati Reds, split a two-gamer with the St. Louis Cardinals (and went up 4-2 on them Tuesday before the rain washed it away) and took three of four from the Atl...

To continue reading the rest of this article, subscribe to Pirates Prospects. Subscribers get access to every article on the site, along with all of our exclusive live coverage of the Pirates' minor league system, all for a very low monthly or yearly rate.

If you're already a member, you can log in below. If you think you're receiving this message in error, please e-mail