We’re only 9 games into the 2012 season and the Pirates are only 3-6, but I think there are reasons for cautious optimism. The pitching, in particular, has been stellar. All 9 games have been close. Pirates starting pitchers have thrown a quality start, or very very near a quality start, in every single game. And the bullpen has the lowest earned run average in all of baseball at the moment. Check out the stats.
Game 1: Eric Bedard, 7 innings, 1 earned run (vs. Roy Hallady, Cy Young winner 2003 and 2010)
Game 2: Jeff Karstens, 6 innings, 1 earned run (vs. Cliff Lee, Cy Young winner 2008)
Game 3: James McDonald, 6 innings, 2 earned runs
Game 4: Kevin Correia, 6 innings, 1 earned run (vs. Clayton Kershaw, Cy Young winner 2011)
Game 5: Eric Bedard, 5 innings, 2 earned runs
Game 6: Jeff Karstens, 5 innings, 3 earned runs
Game 7: James McDonald, 5.2 innings, 3 earned runs
Game 8: Charlie Morton, 5 innings, 3 earned runs (vs. Barry Zito, Cy Young winner 2002)
Game 9: Kevin Correia, 6 innings, 1 earned run
BULLPEN: 25.1 innings, 5 earned runs (1.78 ERA – Best in all of baseball)
And all that without A.J. Burnett, who might be their best starter. And you’ll also note in 4 starts the Pirates have faced Cy Young Award winners. A 3-6 start against this schedule is not too bad in my eyes. I’m not quite ready to proclaim they’ll finally have a winning season in 2012, but there’s no doubt the Pirates are heading in the right direction.