Francisco Liriano's season ERA has dropped three runs from last year, allowing 1.6 fewer walks per nine. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

For more than half of last season, from June to August, the Pirates used a rotation that included A.J. Burnett, Kevin Correia, Erik Bedard, James McDonald, Brad Lincoln, Jeff Karstens and Wandy Rodriguez. None of them are on the team's current active roster.

Instead, Pittsburgh has gone 13-4 in its last 17 games with a "new" staff of Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano, Charlie Morton, Jeff Locke, Brandon Cumpton and Jeanmar Gomez. Over those 17 games, the group has collected a 2.64 ERA and has allowed more than three runs only once.

"It can be contagious in so many areas," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "They're handing the baton to one another and n...

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