-Bottom line from this ten game winning streak is that the Pirates are awfully fun to watch right now and while the Reds went 8-2 on their most recent road trip the Pirates matched with an 8-2 home stand after a 4-2 win over the Cubs to sweep them. It hasn't always been pretty but the Pirates just somehow keep winning.
Yea, not pretty at all but they won eight games and the starting pitching has been fabulous in picking up the hitters. Man this has been a ton of fun to watch.
-The game was much like yesterdays as the Pirates scored runs early and leaned on the bullpen after a 1:45ish rain delay that knocked out Jeanmar Gomez. Gomez was actually good again and while most of his starts have been against below average offensive competition that is something that the Pirates weren't getting from Jonathan Sanchez. Gomez went 3.2 innings and gave up three hits and a run but was really getting the job done. His start was cut short but it is really encouraging to see him continually give solid innings despite usually only going five or so innings.
-The bullpen picked up the slack. Vin Mazzaro worked 2.1 innings and allowed only two hits which was then followed by Jose Contreras who had a tough outing and gave up a run before Justin Wilson and Jason Grilli shut the door down. I have been pretty down on the pen as a whole beside Grilli and Mark Malancon but Wilson has really pitched well so far in this young season. He typically serves as the long man but he can come in and throw a mid to upper 90s fastball from the left side which a lot of lefty relievers in the league just can't do.
-Anyways, the Pirates got a pair of runs in the first inning and two more in the second inning and those four runs are all they needed. Andrew McCutchen (3-for-4) and Starling Marte (2-for-3) were the highlights of the offense who got things started early. McCutchen is really seeing the ball well and with most other struggling he can really keep the team afloat if he is going to get hot and stay hot. Marte's hits were both on infield singles and while the Pirates were horrible in the leadoff spot last season it is good to see someone up there who can put pressure on the defense and set up McCutchen.
-The schedule was kind to the Pirates over the home stand but it gets much tougher going forward. The Pirates will spend the next three days in Milwaukee (if you are at the game let me know, I will be there Saturday, maybe Sunday) before having a weird home-and-home with Detroit in a four game series then follows by hosting Cincinnati and then traveling to Atlanta. That is a brutally tough schedule and it is pretty good that the Pirates stacked some wins in the process. Who knows what they will do but they have surprised me to an extent so far so nothing would really shock me. Most important to me is getting a few wins in Milwaukee. They took 3-of-4 from the Brewers when they were at PNC but playing at Miller Park is a whole different animal and it would be a significant mental hurdle to clear if they could win a few there.