Francisco Liriano is the Pirates’ Opening Day starter this year, but he is not an Ace. Gerrit Cole will start game 2 of 162, but, despite the expectations that surround the former first-overall pick, he is not an Ace, either.
The selection process for election into the National Baseball Hall of Fame is simple: a player, five-years removed from last wearing a uniform, is elected once his name appears on at least 75 percent of the ballots turned in by the voting members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
The player remains on the ballot for 15 years, assuming he never receives less than five percent of the votes in any given year, at which point he would be removed.
Forgive us if we’ve been down this road before, even if, over the past two decades, it’s been the road less taken. Last year, riding a wave of excellent pitching, timely hitting and unlikely heroes, the Pirates jumped out to a 47-43 record, entering the All-Star break above .500 for the first time since 1992.
On July 19 they were 51-44 and in sole possession of first place in the N.L. Central – the latest in the season they had been atop the division since 1997.
For the first four months of the 2011 season, the Pirates were relevant again. They entered the All-Star break above .500 for the first time since 1992. They had three All-Stars for the first time since 1990.
On July 18 they were in first place in the NL Central – the latest in the season they were atop the division since 1997. But the final two months weren’t as kind. They lost 47 of the
The Pirates starting rotation received a minor overhaul over the offseason, with the recent acquisition of veteran A.J. Burnett from the Yankees, and the earlier signing of lefty Erik Bedard. Gone are Ross Ohlendorf, who never lived up to his workhorse reputation, and Paul Maholm, who started more games than any lefty in the National League over the past five years.
Here’s a look at the rest of the staff, in no particular order…
With pitchers and catchers just a few short weeks away from reporting to Bradenton, the core of the Pirates 2012 roster is pretty much set. PSR's Joe Giardina takes a close look at how the team breaks down, position-by-position, for the upcoming season as well as the long-term.
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