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Are the Pirates Pitchers Really This Good?

In case you hadn't noticed, we're more than a week into the season, and the Pirates have a winning record. Not only do they have a winning record, they're pulling out games with the rarest of all Pirates assets: strong starting pitching.

A cursory glance at Pittsburgh's early results is revealing, even if it seems improbable that they'll be able to keep up this kind of a run:

  • Game 1, Paul Maholm: 6 2/3 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, ND vs. Cardinals
  • Game 2, Ian Snell: 4 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 6 ER, L vs. Cardinals
  • Game 3, Zach Duke: 6 1/3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 ER, W vs. Cardinals
  • Game 4, Ross Ohlendorf: 6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, L vs. Cardinals
  • Game 5, Paul Maholm: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, W vs. Reds
  • Game 6, Ian Snell: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, L vs. Reds
  • Game 7, Zach Duke: 9 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, W vs. Reds

Yes folks, that's a grand total of 18 runs total through seven games for the Pirates, and eight of those came in a single start. Erase that first Ian Snell nightmare from the record, and the Pirates would have numbers that, projected across a season, would compete with anyone in the league. With the exception of Snell, all the starters have been remarkably economical with their pitch counts, too. Case in point: Duke's complete game shutout was 120 pitches long. For nine innings, that isn't bad.

Of course, that's a bunch of nonsensical hypothetical analysis. The fact is that, so far, the Pirates have played the Cardinals and the Reds. While both those teams bring significant potential, neither is projected to be a world beater.

That being said, Cincinnati and St. Louis are divisional rivals for the Pirates, and any time you can start a season 5-2 against divisional foes, a team has to take stock and be impressed. Add to that Pittsburgh's woes of, well, ever since Barry Bonds skipped town, and Pirates fans must be looking around in shock wondering what this new sensation is?

It's optimism Buccos, optimism. With that pitching staff, maybe there's finally reason for it in the steel belt, too.

By Cameron Smith  |  April 15, 2009; 11:55 AM ET
Categories:  Pirates  
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Next: Tampa Prep Star Tosses Three Straight No-Hitters


Isn't Ian Snell a former Nat prospect?

Posted by: Juan-John | April 15, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

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