Sep 23, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) throws out a runner at second base after a bunt against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
They don’t get as much run support as they should.
For 2014, the Pittsburgh Pirates only placed two starters in the top 100 in terms of Run Support for that pitcher. Edinson Volquez, newly departed for the KC Royals, was the highest Pirate in this regard, placing 23rd overall, as the Bucs scored an average of 4.35 runs in each of his starts. The next Pirate on the list was Francsico Liriano, at number 78, with a paltry 3.38 average runs scored in support of his starts. This absolutely must improve if the team is to finally overtake the Cardinals for NL Central supremacy. With the emerging Pirate offense, there is no reason to think that this number will not see improvement. Every pitcher that has ever played will absolutely tell you that pitching with runs on the board is their preferred scenario by far. With Andrew McCutchen anchoring the lineup, along with superstars-in-the-making such as Starling Marte, I would be surprised if we did not see the Pirates offensive attack do more this year to help their starters.
Of course, there is plenty of room for the starters to help themselves, also.
Next: Can the starters take that next step to the elite?