Pirates early, pleasant surprise

By Patrick Erickson

Now it is way too early to be talking about anything for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but at least the team is competing.

The franchise with the longest string of losing seasons in the majors has started a respectable 7-5 and sits only behind the Cardinals in the NL Central.

Led by a young, talented outfield and a scrappy infield the Pirates have put up some runs. But perhaps even more surprisng is their pitching so far.

Zack Duke looks like his old self. The lefty ace is 2-0 and has thrown 19 innings over 3 starts and allowed just five runs. In fact it was his best start of the year when he did not even record a win, though the team did.

Paul Malholm has been a solid #2 so far and the bullpen has been excellent.

Brendan Donnelly has looked like his Angels self (or lsat years Marlins version) rather than the one that labored in Cleveland. He provides a veteran presence in the bullpen. Combined with Evan Meek, Ross Ohlendorf, and Jack Taschner the Pirates have been solid in the late innings.

If/how long they can keep this pace up will be a big question mark, but at least the Pirate fans can revel in some early season positives and hope that management will finally keep this core intact for the long haul.

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