Welcome to the Pittsburgh Pirates Wake-Up Call, a daily feature here at RumBunter.com. Every morning at 9 AM, one of us will give you our random thoughts on the goings-on around the Pirates’ organization, and we’ll throw out a few links to some good Pirates-related items your way from around the web as well.
Hitters gonna hit
Last night our heroes started off a crucial series in Colorado with a fantastic win over the Rockies. Even more encouraging than starting a four-game series with a win was how they did it. With Jordy Mercer and Starling Marte leading the way with four hits apiece, the offense carried the load in this one to make it a laugher. And what better person than Mercer. To compensate for the offense lost from Jung Ho Kang, Mercer will have to continue to at least provide the threat of offense. He won’t have to put up four hit nights – nor should he be expected to – but if he can make opposing pitchers work at the bottom of the order and get that top of the Pirates order an extra at-bat or two, then he’s doing his job just fine.
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As for Marte, his night may be indicative of another late-season breakout. In 2014, Marte hit .363 in September with 11 extra-base hits. He likely won’t be as hot this year, but can still be just as impactful. Not only can he setup RBI chances for Andrew McCutchen (should #22 ever get another pitch to hit) but he can also provide some protection for a suddenly-struggling Gregory Polanco, who is batting .195 in September.
Burnett gets stronger
A.J. Burnett continued his road back from elbow issues with another solid if unspectacular start, giving the Pirates 5.2 innings of 5 strikeout ball against four walks. The formula for Burnett seems to be taking shape. Although it is still only his third start back from injury, it seems that Clint Hurdle has no qualms about going to the bullpen earlier than he would like during AJ’s starts. I think that’s the right move. Staying on this course will allow Burnett to fully work his way back to hopefully crescendo for the postseason. Burnett’s role in October is going to be one of the most interesting story lines in recent memory.
Pirates talk on the web
Yahoo Sports grades out the Pirates superhero costumes. Speaking of which – what was your favorite? For me there’s something about Aramis Ramirez as a ninja turtle that just slays me. Let us know your pic here on the comments or on Twitter or Facebook – just hit the links below!
Gammons Daily takes a look at Neal Huntington’s 2015 through the lens of another long-time MLB general manager.
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