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The starting rotation for the Pittsburgh Pirates continued to be an asset Monday night. After stellar starts from Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon during the Pirates trip to Wrigley Field this past weekend, it was Ivan Nova‘s turn to impress Monday at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

Nova did just that, allowing two earned runs on five hits and striking out three in eight innings. Nova’s only mistake occurred on the first pitch of the third inning as he served up a solo home run to Kolten Wong that put the Cardinals up early.

That was Nova’s lone mistake as the 30-year old didn’t allow a single runner to reach base via a walk in the contest; however, he suffered the loss as the Bucs were downed, 2-1.

This season, Nova has continued where he left off last season as he has compiled a 1-2 record along with a 2.25 ERA in three starts. Nova has struck out eight and has yet to allow a walk in 20 innings.

Nova is part of a five man pitching rotation that deserves a ton of credit for the work they have put in in the early going of this season. As a group, the Pirates rotation currently ranks 10th in all of baseball with a 3.48 ERA. Aside from Tyler Glasnow‘s 12.15 ERA and Cole’s 5.29 ERA, the other three in the Bucs rotation have developed ERA’s of 2.38 or lower in at least two starts this season.

Despite their high earned run averages, Glasnow and Cole are bound to improve as the season goes on. Glasnow will have to endure his growing pains and Cole, who is coming off of a stellar start against the Cubs, may be on the verge of getting things back on track.

Kuhl is a guy who has a high upside and Taillon and Nova have proven to be solidified top of the line starters for the Pirates.

At a time when the Bucs offense has been off and on, the rotation has been a major bright spot. For the Pirates to continue to have success as the season progresses, the offense will have to become more consistent while the trend within the starting pitching will most definitely need to continue.

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Jose Negron

Jose Negron is a 22 year old journalist from the North Huntingdon area. A recent graduate of California University of Pennsylvania, Jose has written for Rumbunter and Pirates Breakdown for the past year. He is the former Editor in Chief and Sports Editor of Cal U's campus newspaper, the Cal Times. He also covers high school sports for the Mon Valley Independent and serves as a contributor for Pittsburgh Sporting News, covering the Pirates. During the summer of 2015, he also interned with TribLive Radio, writing for their online blog, helping in the production of various radio shows and even appearing on the air.