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Yesterday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates finished off a sweep of the Braves with the first Marte Partay of the season. Starling Marte belted his first home run of the season, which also happened to give the Pirates a walk-off win. This sweep is extremely important for the Pirates because their month of April is brutal. After playing the Reds for a series starting tonight, the Pirates have the make-up game against the Red Sox, then have series against the Cubs, the Cardinals, the Yankees, and the Cubs again. That’s a brutal 13-game stretch. That makes this sweep of the Braves a big one. The Pirates were able to capitalize on playing a bad team, something that they’ll need to do against the Reds as well. If the Pirates can take two out of three from the Reds, or even sweep them (a tall order), they could put themselves in a good position heading into this tough stretch of games.

The negative from this game is that Andrew McCutchen struggled again, going 0-4 with two strikeouts, giving him seven strikeouts already. He is on pace for 226 strikeouts. Obviously this is a small sample size, but McCutchen has not looked good at the plate at all in the early going.

The other negative was Gerrit Cole. Cole has not fared well so far, giving up five runs in his first start and three runs yesterday. Luckily the Pirates have gotten quality starts from Jameson Taillon and Ivan Nova, but Cole needs to be better. We all know based on his 2015 campaign that the ace potential is there. Fortunately for the team and for Cole, if Taillon can live up to his billing and if Nova can build off of last season, Cole may not need to be a dominant ace.

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Baseball Talk Around the Web

  • Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina was involved in an incidient last Thursday in which a baseball stuck to his chest protector. He was asked questions after the game about what substance could have caused that to happen. Molina declined to answer these questions. This in part led Buster Olney of ESPN to write that baseball needs to revisit its rule about foreign substances. Give it a read here.
  • And Jonah Keri of CBS Sports gives his ten observations on the league with the first week of the regular season in the books.

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Tyler Waite

Tyler is a data analyst by day and an aspiring sports writer by night. He’s been a Pittsburgh sports fan his entire life, but has a special place for the Pirates. He is fascinated by the analytical side of the game, and wants to impart his analysis as both a writer and as a fan to Pirate fans everywhere.