Pittsburgh Pirates Announce Opening Day Starting Pitcher


We now know who will start for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Opening Day, as well as in their home opener

On March 28th the Pittsburgh Pirates will travel to Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati to kick off their 2019 campaign against the Cincinnati Reds. On Saturday afternoon, manager Clint Hurdle announced who will start for the Bucs on Opening Day, and, to no surprise, it will be budding ace Jameson Taillon.

There were many positives for the Pirates during the 2018 season, but one of the biggest was the emergence of Taillon. After being selected second overall in the MLB Amateur Draft in 2010, last season, Taillon started to bud into the ace the Pirates had envisioned when they drafted him.

Taillon pitched a career high 191 innings in a career best 32 starts in 2018. His 3.20 ERA, 3.46 FIP, and 3.7 fWAR were all career bests, too. His 22.8% strikeout rate was also a new career best, while his 5.9% walk rate was a near two percent drop from 2017.

On April 1st, the Pirates will host the rivaled St. Louis Cardinals in their 2019 home opener. Hurdle also announced who will get the ball in that game, and it will be veteran Chris Archer. This game will also be a national broadcast game on ESPN.

Archer was the team’s big addition at last season’s non-waiver trade deadline. After struggling with the Bucs in August, Archer was one of the better starting pitchers in the National League in September posting a 2.79 ERA and a 3.40 FIP in five starts. Since the start of the 2015 season Archer ranks 15th among MLB starting pitchers in fWAR (18.4) and he is tied with Clayton Kershaw for the fourth most strikeouts (1,069) in the Majors.

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Taillon and Archer is arguably the best one-two punch in the National League Central division, and one of the best in all of baseball. Trevor Williams and Joe Musgrove, who are scheduled to start games two and three in Cincinnati, join Taillon and Archer to give the Pirates one of the best starting rotations in the National League.