Three Takeaways From a Gritty Series Win Over Baltimore

What have we learned about this team after a feel good home-opening weekend?
Edward Olivares walks it off on Sunday Afternoon vs. the Orioles
Edward Olivares walks it off on Sunday Afternoon vs. the Orioles / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages
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The Pirates Rotation Can Do Enough

While the performances from Bailey Falter and Marco Gonzales did not light up the radar guns like Jared Jones' home debut, they provided the stability that the Pirate's rotation often lacked last season. Against a potent O's lineup, Falter turned in six innings of one-hit work with one strikeout and one walk to match. Similarly, Gonzales pitched six innings with two earned runs, five hits, four strikeouts, and zero walks.

Neither of these starts were flashy swing-and-miss exhibitions, but they both limited bullpen use and kept the game close, allowing the offense to finish the game in dramatic fashion two days in a row. That being said, some of the advanced stats are not particularly kind to Falter, giving him a 6.40 FIP (a predictor of ERA) through his two starts. Even if this configuration of the rotation is a hold-over while fans await the promotion of Paul Skenes and potentially more young talents from the minor leagues, results like these can keep the Bucs competitive in the meantime.

Progress Report: The New Pirates Continue to Pull their Weight

Edward Olivares, Rowdy Tellez, and Aroldis Chapman each contributed in a significant way to this series, continuing to make their cases as valuable off-season additions. For his part, in addition to his aforementioned walk-off on Sunday, Olivares went 3 for 8 for the series with a walk, 2 RBI, and a double. Tellez meanwhile had a modest 3 for 12 series, with an RBI and a walk, but worked several lengthy counts and defensively served as the first basemen that this team has lacked in the past.

Aroldis Chapman made an appearance in Saturday's game, allowing one walk, but striking out two Orioles for a clean inning and a hold. While the Chapman signing may have raised a few eyebrows across the league, none of these additions were expensive or flashy, but each has been a meaningful upgrade to this team in the early going. If the Pirates continue to stay hot look for these newcomers to play important supporting roles around the maturing young core of homegrown talent.

Up next, the Pirates have a quick two-game slate at home against the Detroit Tigers coming off a series loss to the Oakland Athletics.