Jason Grilli

2013 MLB Pennant Races: A to Z

An alphabetical look at the keys to the 2013 MLB pennant races.
From A to Z, here are the keys to the 2013 MLB pennant races.

Pedro Alvarez

Maybe the third baseman was rushed through the Pirates’ system, or maybe he’s been a little slow to develop, but the Pirates have been rewarded for their patience with the young slugger. The second overall pick in 2008 is tied for the NL lead in homers and is fourth in RBIs. If the Bucs can hang on and win the NL Central, Alvarez will be a key component.

2013 MLB Trade Deadline: Winners and Losers

Breaking down the most recent baseball trades
Last season the most impactful trades didn’t seem that impressive when they were announced. But the additions of Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro by San Francisco shifted the balance of power toward the Giants in the NL West and eventually led to a World Series championship. Often it’s the little things that seem to matter most, like solid defense, eating innings and clubhouse unity. The frenzy at the trade deadline last Wednesday never really materialized, but there were a handful of significant trades over the past few weeks that could affect the 2013 pennant races.

Last season the most impactful trades didn’t seem that impressive when they were announced. But the additions of Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro by San Francisco shifted the balance of power toward the Giants in the NL West and eventually led to a World Series championship. Often it’s the little things that seem to matter most, like solid defense, eating innings and clubhouse unity.

Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Preview

Can Bucs take next step and win NL Central in 2014?
A solid core group of players is in place for at least the next few years. The Pirates also have a strong farm system. However, the team failed to make any splashy moves over the winter, declining to build on the momentum it gained last season and improve a roster weakened by the free-agent losses.

The Pirates want to prove themselves again in 2014. Last year, they ended a string of 20 consecutive losing seasons — the longest in major North American professional team sports history — and also reached the postseason for the first time since 1992.

16 Amazing MLB Stats of the Week: April 29-May 5

Highlighting the most important, intriguing and bizarre stats in baseball.
<p> Cleanup hitters struggle, a former utilityman goes off and some dude who's never closed games before is perfect.</p>

There's never a shortage for cool numbers in baseball. Cleanup hitters struggle, a former utilityman goes off and some dude who's never closed games before is perfect. Go figure (which is what we've been doing).

2013 Baseball Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates

Is the year the Pirates break their streak of 20 consecutive losing seasons?
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<p> Making a run at the postseason might be a stretch — even in the era of the second wild card — but a winning record appears to be a realistic goal in Pittsburgh.</p>