Two series sweeps. In the opening month of the season. A 5-3 win yesterday afternoon guaranteed that. The more the Pirates keep handling Houston, the more I'll be able to continue comparing this young Pirate's season to the past Penguins season. We tend to forget that before the Penguin's 16-game points streak that started in early January and contained two 6-game win streaks, the team had 18 wins and 16 regulation losses. The Pens were in the middle of the cluster looking for the 7th or 8th seed in the East before streaking and (at one point) holding the 2 spot in the entire conference.
That's not to say that these Pirates will have the exact kind of season that the Pens enjoyed, but it is a possibility. 10-10 is a deserving record for the Pirates, given the stagnant offense and bipolar pitchers (Armas allowed 1 run after entering the game with a 18.90 ERA). As long as our starters continue this mini hot streak, the Pirates should look to do some damage in the Central (I can't believe I just said that).
Now that the Buccos have 10 wins, I must update my 7 Reasons to Keep Watching the Bucs This Season. Reasons 8, 9 and 10 are:
8. Humberto Cota is on the DL. Honestly, why is this guy still on our team? With Ryan Doumit being called up and contributing early, Cota is, at best, our 3rd catcher. He strikes out too much, that is, when he actually gets into a game. I thought he was gone last year, when Jim Tracy struggled to find places for him to play. The Bucs tried to off him by retiring Paul Waner's number 11, the number that Cota was still wearing. That didn't work, so I guess the DL is the next best place for Humberto.
9. We Play Houston 9 More Times. But not again until July 20th. Still, that's 9 more wins towards the goal of 82. If the Pirates continue to mirror the early success of the Pens against the Flyers, then Houston has no chance for the remainder of the season. Who knew that Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte had that much of an impact on the club? However, Houston has been a notoriously slow starter for the past several seasons and before you know it, they're advancing in the playoffs. I haven't completely written them off, but I like the Pirates' chances from here on out.
10. The 'Pen is Looking Good. Larry Brown Sports hit the nail on the head when he commented on the outstanding relief arms on the Pittsburgh roster. Jonah Bayliss and Matt Capps recorded the first 2 wins of the season for the Bucs, and John Grabow, who is just back from injury, was credited with the save yesterday. John Wasdin pitched 2 scoreless innings for the marathon win in the 16th, and former Yankees starter Shawn Chacon lurks in the 'Pen as well. The only big question mark is Torres (That's actually a huge question mark right now), so if he can return to form, the Buccos can rely on durable relievers to back up our relatively young starting pitchers.
Reasons to Keep Watching the Bucs Archive:
7 Reasons to Keep Watching the Bucs This Season
'07 Bucs vs. '06-'07 Pens Archive:
Bucs Win in 16, Fully Endorse Adderall
The 2007 Pirates: Holding Company With John Smiley and Doug Drabek