Pittsburgh Pirates: Top 5 Pitching Performances of 2015

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Oct 7, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) and catcher Francisco Cervelli (29) react after giving up a home run during the third inning in the National League Wild Card playoff baseball game at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 World Series reminded everyone just how important pitching is as the dominant rotation of the Mets was matched up with the relentless bullpen of the Royals. The Pirates are well aware of this, though, as their pitching has been a major part of the resurgence as a contending team.

Behind the strong one-two punch of Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano, the Pittsburgh Pirates were able to get the most of guys like A.J. Burnett, Charlie Morton and J.A. Happ to help carry the team to the postseason for the third season in a row.

In 2015, Gerrit Cole posted a 19-8 record to clearly define himself as the ace but the rest of the staff pulled it’s weight as well. The starting rotation combined for a 67-48 record with a 3.53 ERA – good for 5th in the National League (and behind the 4 other playoff teams). Those 67 wins peg them the 2nd-most winning rotation in the league this season as well, behind only the Cardinals. 

With names like that, you’d expect some big games and the numbers don’t lie. In this slideshow, I’m going to look back on the Pirates’ five best starting pitching performances from 2015, based on Baseball-reference.com’s Game score.*

*Game score is calculated by starting with 50 and adding 1 point for each out, 2 points for each inning completed after the 4th and 1 point for each strikeout. Points can be subtracted as well, 2 for each hit, 4 for each earned run, 2 for each unearned run and 1 for each walk.