Record: 30-31, 4th place NL Central
Captain: Clint Hurdle. 558-652 (.462) lifetime plunderin’ record.
Harbor: PNC Park. Be a fair park, though favoritin’ the lefthanded hitters o’er the right.
Smartly . . .
Can they hit? Nay!
Can they pitch? Yargh!
Can they field? Gar!
Who be thar best player? Andrew McCutchen. He be lookin’ most like Captain Jack.
LF – Jose Tabata – R
3B – Josh Harrison – R
CF – Andrew McCutchen – R
2B – Neil Walker – S
1B – Lyle Overbay – L
RF – Garrett Jones – L
SS – Ronny Cedeno – R
C – Dusty Brown – R
Gar! The brethern of the coast have four deckhands bein’ 25 years or less, givin’ them the second-youngest group of scallywags in the seven seas. Bow deckhand Andrew McCutchen, 24, leads the team in home runs, plank walkin’, and OPS. Neil Walker, 25, leads in RBI and be second in the NL in pillagin’. Port deckhand Jose Tabata, 22, has 14 steals without splicin’ the main brace. Pedro Alvarez, 24, be the only youngen strugglin’ this voyage, battin’ .208/.283/.304 before bein’ placed in the sick bay with scurvy last month. As a whole, the Pirates offense be strugglin’, 12th in the league in team on-base percentage, 14th in sluggin’ percentage, and 13th in runs taken per game. They draw plenty o’ walks, but strike out often for a team that doesn’t hit for a ton o’ power. Arr, but comin’ into this series, the Pirates be of better record than the Mets, and have a shot at winnin’ o’er 70 games for the first time in ages.
6/10: RHP – Charlie Morton (vs. Dillon Gee)
6/11: RHP – James McDonald (vs. R.A. Dickey)
6/12: RHP – Kevin Correia (vs. Chris Capuano)
6/13: LHP – Paul Maholm (vs. Mike Pelfrey)
Miss: RHP – Jeff Karstans
In 2010, the Pirates’ rapscallion hurlers finished 34-84 with a 5.28 ERA. One year later, Pittsburgh’s staff be 21-20 with a 3.65 ERA. That 1.63 run difference, if it held up o’er the entire voyage, would be the third best turnaround by a rotation hangin’ the jib since the piracy act o’ 1698. Much credit is bein’ given to pitchin’ cockswain Ray Searage, who took over last summer when Gopher McBattingpractice was made to walk the plank. As me parrot tells me, a rotation ranked last in strikeouts and strikeouts-to-walks might not post a 3.65 ERA all season long. But the pitchin’ be better, and as a land lubbing staff with a good defense behind them – movin’ Garrett Jones off the starboard deck and replacin’ him with the sure-handed Lyle Overbay has helped — they may not regress all that far.
Gar, be a four game series this weekend with the same pitching matchups as last week. The Friday start goes to Charlie Morton, who be lowerin’ his ERA from 7.57 last season to 2.52 this year. His strikeouts be down and his walks up – usually not a good sign – but Morton has been throwin’ nothin’ but divers: His ground ball rate has jumped from 47% to 64%, and he be allowin’ just 2 home runs after allowin’ 15 last year. Game 2 goes to curveball pitcher James McDonald, plundered from the Dodgers last summer. McDonald’s ERA sat at 10.12 after his first four starts, but in eight starts since he has a 2.82 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 44.2 innings. Swing the lead, ye cowardly swab! Sunday be Kevin Correia, owner of the league’s lowest strikeout rate and ninth lowest walk rate. He be another high contact, righthanded scallywag thrivin’ (3.64 ERA) in front of the Pirates’ deckhands. Lefty Paul Maholm starts Monday. He be of a 2-7 record, despite a 3.39 ERA, because the Pirates score 2.7 runs per game when he pitches — Maholm gives unnecessarily long, awkward hugs on the deck whene’er a teammate pillages a run for him. So the offense’s reluctance be understandable.
C – Wyatt Toregas – R
IF – Pedro Ciriaco – R
IF – Brandon Wood – R
OF – Matt Diaz – R
OF – Xavier Paul – L
Stern hands Ryan Doumit and Chris Snyder, and port hand Steven Pearce (already filling in for deserter Pedro Alvarez) be flying the yellow jack, compelling the Pirates to impress Wyatt Toregas, Dusty Brown, and Brandon Wood into service. Be a pressgang of minor tars, ye bloomin’ cockroaches! The Pirates’ subs have been loaded to the gunwalls this season: Matt Diaz’ .667 OPS be the best figure among this group, which be all you’re needing to know here.
RHP – Joel Hanrahan
RHP – Jose Veras
RHP – Chris Resop
RHP – Evan Meek
RHP – Daniel McCutchen
LHP – Daniel Moskos
LHP – Tony Watson
Aye, they be not bad. Pirates reliever have a 3.31 ERA, 7th best among NL bullpens, and they own the 6th best strikeout rate and the 6th best walk rate. Closer Joel Hanrahan be quietly havin’ an excellent season: Be 14 for 14 in save opportunities, castin’ a many oarsmen to Davy Jones’ locker. Boatswains Jose Veras, Chris Resop, and Evan Meek have combined for 80 strikeouts in 68 innings, though with a hogshead o’ walks along the way. The Pirates’ pen be a little shorthanded at the moment, with hearties Michael Crotta and Joe Biemel marooned on the DL. But they be both strugglin’ anyway and not a heavy loss. Take a caulk, ye blige rats.
And those be some things to know about Pirates. Where be the rum?