Pirates look to propel to playoffs with pitching staff

Austin Bechtold, Podcast Editor

With the Steelers’ organization in chaos and the Penguins playing inconsistently all season, the city of Pittsburgh has one team left to rely on: the Pirates. The team is coming off of a 82-79 season and will rely heavily on its young, up-and-coming starting rotation and lights-out bullpen.
Budding ace Jameson Taillon will return to anchor the staff, with Joe Musgrove looking to improve on his first year with the Bucs, Trevor Williams hoping to maintain his strong finish, and Chris Archer preparing for his first full year in a Pirate uniform.
Taillon (3.20 ERA) and Williams (3.11) took major steps forward in 2018 that they hope will continue into the 2019 season. Williams finished the season with a Cy Young type run, compiling the best second half ERA in baseball at 1.38. Taillon, meanwhile, added a slider after early-season struggles, providing him with another strikeout weapon that was nearly unhittable.
This is without even talking about Archer and Keone Kela, the Bucs’ big additions at last year’s trading deadline. Archer, a two-time All Star, will look to provide leadership to a team hungry to reach the postseason for the first time since 2015. Top pitching prospect Mitch Keller should also provide a spark midseason by bringing his power arm to the rotation.
Kela will join Felipe Vazquez, Richard Rodriguez, and Kyle Crick in a strong back end of the bullpen, dubbed by Vazquez as The Wolfpack.
Strong pitching should be complemented by the continued improvements of Gregory Polanco and Francisco Cervelli, a bounce-back year from Josh Bell, and solid consistency from Starling Marte and Corey Dickerson.
The Pirates will bank on the strength of their young pitching and get back to the playoffs.