With April almost winding down, one thing is assured, the Pittsburgh Pirates will have a winning month of April. yeah, I know its early, but it's worth noting because it doesn't happen often. Taking a look at this team, even with three of their best players injured, these guys aren't so bad.
After losing Ryan Doumit and Jack Wilson to the disabled list and Nate McClouth to an injury, all the Pirates did was take 5 of 6 from two first place teams in the Marlins and Padres. I know that's not the same as beating maybe the Phillies, Mets or Dodgers, but this same Bucco team a year ago would have been lucky to split the 6 games.
Now if they could only find out a way to beat the Brewers and Cubs, then we may have something bigger to talk about.
- The starting pitching has been excellent. Maholm, Duke, Snell and Ohlendorf have given quality starts almost every time out. Karstens got roughed up a bit last night, but if he can win 10 games, then the pitching should be fine.
- Other than last night, the bullpen has been even better. The Bucs have the best team ERA in the majors and the bullpen has been good. What I like most is the development of Evan Meek and Jessie Chavez. It has been a really long time since the Bucs have had a couple power arms like these guys in the pen. Once they learn a bit more, the pen could become a strength for the team.
- The Laroche brothers. It's April and Adam is hitting .300 with 5HR and 14 RBI, leading the team in both homers and RBI's. Andy on the other hand has rebounded with an 11 game hit streak after opening the season without a hit for the first two weeks. He is suddenly hitting a respectable .263. The key has been that Russell has kept him in the lineup everyday.
- The catching position suddenly isn't that bad. Jason Jaramillo and Robinson Diaz will do just fine until Doumit heals up.
-Freddy Sanchez may be healthy again. He's swinging the stick pretty well. I feel having Nyjer Morgan on base so much has helped Sanchez a ton. Sanchez hits the ball the other way better than anyone on the team. He has taken advantage of teams having to hold Morgan on.
- Speaking of Morgan, having a good leadoff hitter is very important to teams and as long as he keeps getting on base at this rate, the Pirates can score some runs without the threat of the long ball. I used to bash him in the past, but he has won me over.