Pirates’ starting rotation strong as any in the National League

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Oct 16, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (50) celebrates after the final out against the San Francisco Giants in the seventh inning of game five of the 2014 NLCS playoff at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

St Louis Cardinals

Adam Wainright

Lance Lynn

John Lackey

Michael Wacha

Carlos Martinez/Jaime Garcia

One word.  Strong.  But what do you expect from a franchise that’s had 13 winning seasons in 14 years?

Adam Wainwright is the model of efficiency.  Four sub-3.00 ERA seasons in five years, plus four 200-plus inning campaigns in that span to go along with four 19-win seasons.  Aside from 2012, he’s been  unbelievable.  There’s not much to pick apart here other than the fact that he’ll be 34 this year and he’s thrown 1,130 innings over the last five years.  He’s bound to break down sometime right?

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Lance Lynn had a breakout year in 2014 going 15-10 with a 2.74 ERA.   This production was a welcome surprise given in the previous two seasons, he had an earned run average in the high-3.00 range. Coming off a recent Spring Training shutdown because of a hip flexor strain, there’s not many out there who wouldn’t expect at least a slight regression. John Lackey is a stable veteran pitcher, but he’s not going to knock anyone’s socks off.  He has a career ERA of 4.03 and in 10 games with St. Louis last year he went 3-3 with a 4.30 ERA.  Yawn.

Michael Wacha will be a wild card this year.  He was arguably one of the most promising young pitchers in the game in 2013.  He certainly came into Pittsburgh and slammed the door shut on our World Series hopes, pitching like a seasoned veteran in one of the most hostile environments in all of baseball in arguably the most important game of his career to-date. Coming off of a very complicated and scary stress fracture in his scapula, however, your guess is as good as mine as to what happens this season with young prodigy and how long he can even stay on the mound.

Carlos Martinez is a young talent that has excellent stuff when he is on point; however like most young pitchers he is plagued with inconsistency.  His spring performance is a pre-curs0r for what to expect in the regular season.  In his second game out, he pitched three scoreless innings, but in the very next start he was tagged for five runs.  Martinez will have moments of brillance throughout the year, but he’ll have an equal amount of starts that will leave St. Louis fans scratching their heads.