Mar 28, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Tony Watson (44) delivers to the plate during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Pirates defeated the Phillies 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates Pitching was Dominant in Opening Series

If you didn’t catch the Pittsburgh Pirates games and just listened to sports talk radio in Pittsburgh, you would literally have no idea the Pirates won the first series.

After the first series with the Cubs, the airwaves are already ripe with the sounds of ‘doubt’, ‘concern’, ‘frustration’, etc.  I should remind everyone that we did, in fact, win.  And after all, isn’t that what counts?

I guess not.

The bats were not good in the first three games of the season and already sports talk show hosts and fans alike are piling on.   IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD AGAIN!!

Nevermind the fact that the pitching performance was tops in the league.  Nevermind the fact that the Pirates won two of three.  Which really should be the focus of the discussion, let’s turn our thoughts to the fact that the Pirates didn’t hit well.  What else is there to talk about right?

I’ll give you some suggestions.

How about the three consecutive quality starts by Wandy Rodriguez, Charlie Morton, and Francisco Liriano.  I have not heard as much as a whisper about the dominant performance offered up by the top of the rotation.

How about we talk about why the Pirates won the series instead of continuing to discuss why they’re not good enough to continue winning.  Which is total garbage.

Since no one else is discussing the positives of the first series because apparently they don’t matter, I guess I will.

  • Only three other teams in the entire major leagues have three quality starts in their first three games
  • Through the first three games the Pirates have the 3rd lowest ERA in the major leagues.  (1.54)
  • The Pirates are only one of nine teams to pitch a shut out
  • Through the first three games only one team has thrown more strikeouts (Nationals)

Maybe spend just five minutes talking about the pitching?  Just five?  Then you can go back to bashing the team.  Is that too much to ask?

Bottom line is the Pirates are a pitch first, hit second team.  That is just the facts.  That’s not going to change.

They are not going to average six runs a game.  They are not going to be in the top of the league in any major hitting statistic.  And they are not going to win their games by out-slugging the other team.  (at least not consistently).

Look at where they are with the bat after the first three games.

  • They are dead last in batting average in the major leagues (.175)
  • 20th in OBP (.282)
  • Dead last in slugging % (.219) Now that is a pathetic number.
  • And 2nd to last in OPS (.502) Another just god – awful stat.

But look.  Are they going to improve on those numbers?  Yes!  I mean, those numbers can’t get worse!  Of course they’ll hit better then that moving forward!  But the best Pirate fans can expect is for them to finish in the middle of the road in those statistics.  And that’s OK!  It will be good enough to win allot of games, believe me.

Reason being is that our pitching numbers are going to remain pretty much where they are now.  At the top of the league.  And pitching can win you just as many games as hitting can.  Probably more.

So, in looking at the first series, let’s try to keep things in perspective.  There is no need to panic because we didn’t hit well.  Our lineup is solid.  We still have super stars in the field that will start hitting.  It’s just a matter of time.  Be patient.

If anything, the fact that we won the series despite barely putting the bat on the ball should be a very positive sign.

Gerritt Cole has a chance to make it four straight quality starts tonight for the Bucco’s.   Pitching will be our strength all year as it was last year.  We will have a top bullpen and a top rotation all year as we did last year (pending injury).  And we will be in the chase for the NL Central come September.

Please don’t make us listen to the mindless dribble revolving around the lack of hitting all….season….long.

Or if you insist on talking about nothing else but the lack of hitting.  At least offer some insight in to how they can realistically improve the lineup.  Instead of just stating the obvious.  “duuuh…they need another bat”.  I mean… don’t get me wrong, that is a scintillating observation granted.  But how about a suggestion following that.  You are the experts right?

And if you have time, how about we dedicate a couple minutes talking about how good the pitching is in between the endless segments of doom and gloom.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

For real Pirate insight follow me on twitter @TheBigTuna66 and tune into the Big Tuna show every Sunday at 12:30.

Tags: Pittsburgh Pirates

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