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MLB

A.J. Burnett Must Be Leader For Pittsburgh Pirates This Season

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates are at a very important point right now with trying to make the next step towards getting back to the team’s glory days of the early ‘90s. Pittsburgh needs to put two halves together and there is one pitcher that will be needed most to make that happen in A.J. Burnett. If Burnett can be solid again for Pittsburgh in 2013 and gets some other pitchers to do the same, the Pirates may actually make the playoffs.

Burnett was 16-10 last season with a 3.51 ERA, which was his lowest since 2007. There is no doubt that Burnett is a talented pitcher but had the same problem that the team overall had last season in faltering during the second half. Burnett went 1-6 over his last nine starts when the Pirates needed him most after a 15-4 start to the year. That can’t happen again in 2013 for a Pittsburgh team that is on the verge of something special.

Burnett is going to be counted on to be the leader of the rotation for Pittsburgh and should get the Opening Day start on April 1. If anyone needs to put two halves together on the pitching staff, it is Burnett. This is a great chance for Burnett to prove himself yet again at age 36. There aren’t very many years left for Burnett in Major League Baseball and he needs to consider this a new challenge, showing a young team the ropes. Hopefully Burnett takes the reins for Pittsburgh this year and leads them to the playoffs.

Andy Schmidt is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ASchmidtSports, like his Facebook page or add him to your network on Google.