Pirates, Pittsburgh Pirates

2nd Half Outlook

If the first two games are any indication, Andrew McCutchen is going to carry the Pirates on offense.  The question is – will it be enough?  Francisco Liriano was not on top of his game on Friday and neither was AJ Burnett on Saturday.  The fielding was less than what we’ve seen too.

Admit it – “collapse” is in your paranoid head.

Mine too.

Here are the reasons to be worried.

  1. Jeff Locke and Gerrit Cole will eventually reach a pitch count limit.
  2. Francisco Liriano has been inconsistent in his career.
  3. AJ Burnett is 36 years old.
  4. Minor League starting options will also be reaching seasonal pitch limits.
  5. Pedro Alvarez has never had sustained success.
  6. Neil Walker has not hit well and can’t stay off the DL.
  7. Wandy Rodriguez might not be back this season.  If he is, how effective will he be?
  8. Michael McKenry is used to pinch hit for Garrett Jones with game on the line.
  9. Brandon Inge.

But, it is only two games.  This team is made up of different stuff than team’s past.  Reasons to be confident:

  1. Trade.  The team will upgrade somewhere.  It won’t be a blockbuster, but they’ll add a piece or two.  I’m guessing RF and a starter.  Probably players that have not been rumored yet, so hard to predict.
  2.  Tony Sanchez.  He’ll be up in August.  He’ll provide a better bat off the bench, spell Russell Martin at CA.  Martin could occasionally spell Pedro at 3b or Tabata in RF if need be.  Those would be desperate times, however.
  3. Wandy Rodriguez should be back in September.  Fingers crossed.  He’ll be needed.
  4. The bullpen will not regress.  Still best pen in baseball.
  5. Andrew McCutchen is capable of carrying the team as we saw last season.
  6. Pedro Alvarez – this is the new normal.  His approach at the plate is much better.  He’ll let you down striking out in big situations, but he’ll continue to hit some bombs.
  7. Starling Marte keeps getting better.
  8. Brandon Inge won’t have room on the team once a trade happens – unless he retires and is retained as a coach.  Which, I’d like to see for this season, anyways.

UPDATE:  Pirates win game three against the Reds.

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