Pittsburgh Pirates Top Five First-Half Statistical Storylines

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Jul 6, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (34) reacts in the dugout after being removed from the game against the San Diego Padres during the eighth inning at PNC Park. The Pirates won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Much has been said about the Pittsburgh Pirates pitching staff – both the rotation and the bullpen. I won’t spend too much time going over the details again, but we can all agree that no one saw this level of dominance coming. Sure, we all expected Gerrit Cole to take the leap. We all knew that A.J. Burnett was not healthy last year, thus having something left in the tank to give the team. While there were question marks around Francisco Liriano, Charlie Morton, and Jeff Locke, none of us would have expected this level of greatness (Liriano) or competency (Morton and Locke).

Overall the Pirates rank second in the major leagues with a 2.88 team ERA – again chasing the Cardinals. The starting rotation’s ERA stands at 3.06 – good for third in all of baseball. Imagine what that number might be without true duds from Morton, Locke, and Vance Worley. Ray Searage and Jim Benedict probably have the best job security in all of baseball.

With an up-and-down offense, the Pirates pitching will carry them the rest of the way. With the trade deadline about three weeks away, the team’s biggest strength may get even stronger.

The entirety of the Pirates’s organizational approach may be personified by the player in our next storyline.

Next: That's amore indeed