The cavalry is on its way, well, maybe

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The Pirates need pitching help and depth. See: four quality starts in 15 games.

Jeff Locke’s struggles continued Thursday: 4IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, 4BB, 3K (three home runs allowed … including two to Uptons). James McDonald’s velocity has dipped, raising injury speculation. Jonathan Sanchez has struggled, and Jeff Karsten’s status is unknown.

There’s been one healthy and consistent option to date: A.J. Burnett … though Wandy Rodriguez will return and start tomorrow vs. Tim Hudson.

There could be as many as three rotation spots in play and the list of candidates is growing, which is good for manager Clint Hurdle because he’ll soon have a variety of options. Choice always benefits the consumer.

Continue reading The cavalry is on its way, well, maybe

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The fine wine that is A.J. Burnett

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PITTSBURGH – A.J. Burnett is aging well, aging like a fine Bordeaux.

We saw it again last night as he carried a no-hitter into the seventh (until I jinxed it on Twitter). He has 35 strikeouts in 24 innings. He’s been awesome, much better than his 1-2 record indicates.

He’s 36. He doesn’t have the same stuff he did when he no-hit the Padres back in 2001 as a 24-year-old with electric stuff.

The graceful aging is a curious case because on the surface he looks very much like the same pitcher who struggled in New York.

Continue reading The fine wine that is A.J. Burnett

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Hidden velocity … and must McDonald go backward to move forward?

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PITTSBURGH – The blog is back, folks.

Yes, it’s been dormant for a while. Rob has had a lot on his plate. But I’m here as a reinforcement on the Pirates beat as a new hire. I was covering Clemson athletics for the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier for the last four years, mostly football, but I’m a baseball nerd at heart so I’m excited to be here. (Worse offices than PNC Park). I like the blog medium, so I plan to be here  posting on an every day basis, and I hope to be interesting. Let me know if I’m not.

No long-winded introduction today, just an initial post as we prepare to watch Shelby Miller, the type of arm the Pirates hope to enjoy with Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole…..

Continue reading Hidden velocity … and must McDonald go backward to move forward?

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