Although the Pittsburgh Pirates stay in first place didn’t last as long as they might have hoped, they are hovering around second and staying well within striking distance of the first place St. Louis Cardinals. There are a lot of little reasons for the Pirates success this year but one main reason without a doubt is A.J. Burnett. Burnett is absolutely the ace of this staff and he has done everything an ace pitcher should do.
In his starts this season he has gone at least five innings plus every time out and has gone past the sixth inning twice. He has not given up more than three earned runs in any of his outings. His win-loss record is only 3 – 2 but that is deceptive. His 2.57 ERA and the fact that he has given up no more than six hits in any start this season tell the real story. This guy has resurfaced as one of the leading pitchers in baseball over the past couple of seasons.
Now to the Pirates he also brings something of a veteran presence to the starting staff and look what they have done as the season has gone along. I look for the Pirates to compete all season long and threaten to win the division if not actually win it. At the end of the season I don’t know how many wins Burnett will have but I know already that you will be able to count the number of times he didn’t give his team a chance to win on a couple of fingers. That is what an ace starter does.