Pittsburgh Pirates’ 2015 starting rotation: four things to know

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Feb 19, 2015; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitchers warm up before Thursdays workout at Pirate City. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation has been set.  Sort of.

While announcing that Francisco Liriano will be the team’s opening day starter, Hurdle also told Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette that the rest of the rotation will be comprised of Gerrit Cole, A.J. Burnett, Vance Worley/Jeff Locke, and Charlie Morton, in that order.  A few eyebrows were raised at this news, as not only is the battle between Locke and Worley still unresolved, but Morton received what looked like a demotion at first glance.  Hurdle later explained that the goal is to not have teams face Burnett and Morton back to back as their skillsets are similar.

Now that the rotation is set, I’d like to point out four things that you may or may not know about the Pirates’ rotation from last year and how it might affect this year’s performance.  The 2014 rotation had its share of miscues and misfortune, including injuries to Liriano, Cole, and Morton, along with ineffectiveness at times from Locke and others.  The 2015 rotation, while a completely different entity from the ’14 edition, shares many same philosophies with the previous staff and as such can make for some fair comparisons and projections.  Some of the points I’m about to highlight may shock you, and some may fill you with hope that the 2015 starting rotation can be even better than the 2014 model in many ways.

Let’s get started with what has quickly become the Pittsburgh Pirates’ bread-and-butter:  the ground ball.

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