The Pittsburgh Pirates pitchers are dominating in the first month and a half of the 2013 Major League Baseball season because they are striking out a majority of the batters they face. Strikeouts cannot tell the entire story of a pitching staff, but typically, when a team is around the top in the league in the category they are doing something right.
The Pirates as a team rank third in the National League with 362 strikeouts. The bullpen is what is keeping Pittsburgh towards the top as they rank first in the league with 151 strikeouts. Meanwhile, ace A.J. Burnett has 79 strikeouts, which is first among all pitchers in the NL.
How do these numbers transition to the overall success of the pitching staff?
The Pirates rank third in the league in earned run average (3.33), first in saves (18), first in opponent’s batting average (.225) and have given up the second least amount of earned runs (145).
Meanwhile, the bullpen is first in wins (10), first in innings pitched (157), second in ERA (2.81), first in opponent’s batting average (.211) and has surrendered the second least amount of home runs (8). Relievers Jason Grilli (31 strikeouts), Justin Wilson (25 strikeouts) and Mark Melancon (23 strikeouts) all rank in the top 10 in the NL. They have combined for a 4-1 record and a 1.05 ERA in 68 1/3 innings. Grilli is the top closer in the league with a 0.92 ERA and 17 saves in 17 opportunities.
The outstanding performance by the pitching staff has resulted in a 26-18 record through the first 44 games. It is the best start to begin a season in franchise history since 1991, when the team recorded a 29-15 record.