SportsPickle is previewing each MLB team in the lead up to Opening Day 2010.
Today:Pittsburgh Pirates (2009: 62-99, last in NL Central)
STARTING PITCHING The Pirates have a solid rotation that will be anchored byRoss Ohlendorf. Ohlendorf was 11-10 last year with a 3.92 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in his first full season as a big league starter. Those numbers compare favorably to a young Doc Ellis in 1970 when he went 13-10 with a 3.21 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. So what I'm saying is this: If Ohlendorf and the rest of the Pirates' staff would drop some acid, they would be unhittable. Do it, Pirates pitchers. LSD is clear from your urine in 48 hours. Do you want to win or not?
LINEUP Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones didn't play full seasons in 2009, but both still put up outstanding rookie numbers. McCutchen batted.286 with nine triples, 12 home runs, 54 RBIs, 74 runs and 22 stolen bases in only 108 games. Jones, in just 82 games, hit 21 home runs and batted .293. The trick for them will be avoiding a sophomore slump and inferior numbers; numbers that would look like those of the other six regulars in Pittsburgh's lineup.
BULLPEN Joel Hanrahan (career: 4.74 ERA, 14 saves, nine blown saves) will likely take over as Pittsburgh's closer in 2010. You'd think there would be a lot of pressure on him to perform. But considering the Pirates closer last year, Matt Capps, had a 5.80 ERA, he can really only be an improvement. In fact, Hanrahan could go down as the greatest Pirates closer in ages. The team's last closer to make an All-Star Game was Mike Williams in 2003. He was Pittsburgh's lone representative that year and had a 1-3 record and 6.44 ERA at the break. And, yes, went to the fking All-Star Game. He was so bad, he never got another job in baseball after that season. AN ALL-STAR SEASON. The Pirates should just commence building the Joel Hanrahan statue outside PNC Park.
BENCH The Pirates signed former A.L. Rookie of the Year Bobby Crosby as a free agent. Unfortunately, Crosby's rookie year in 2004 was a fluke and he sucks. That said, he could help the Pirates financially because dumber Pittsburgh fans may buy Crosby's jersey thinking it's a Sidney Crosby sweater.
OUTLOOK The Pirates haven't won since 1992, meaning their suck actually pre-dates the web. Will this be their first winning season since the web went mainstream? ZOMG! NO! Ur Qs r ghey!