After Monday night’s win over the Cincinnati Reds, the Pittsburgh Pirates find themselves just one game back of the reigning NL Central champs through 16 games. The Bucs 8-8 record is nothing to write home about necessarily, but for loyal fans of the downtrodden franchise, it sure is a welcomed beginning to the new season.
Here is one aspect of the Pirates’ start that is worth taking note of: after taking three of four from the Reds at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, the Pirates are 7-3 (.667) on the road. Last season, the Buccos were a respectable 40-41 at home, but an atrocious 17-64 away from PNC Park. So, with 146 games still remaining on the 2011 schedule, the Pirates are just ten wins shy of surpassing their ‘10 road win total. That’s more an indictment of last year’s woeful play as visitors than it is a sign of great things to come. But nevertheless, encouraging stuff for a franchise that’s frequently played its way out of contention in the early months of the season.
Also worth noting is the Pirates early mark against divisional opponents. Pittsburgh has squared off against everyone but the Astros this month. They’re 3-1 against the Reds, 2-1 against both Chicago and St. Louis, and only Milwaukee has had their number thus far (0-2).
The Pirates will try to retain their momentum on the road beginning on Tuesday, as they travel to south Florida for a three-game set with the Marlins. Paul Malholm will take the mound for the Pirates, and he better be on point because Florida sends out Josh Johnson who’s been spectacular so far in the early stages of the season.
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