Chat with Tom Smith of Rum Bunter


We continue our series preview look at the the two game set between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Miami Marlins. I posted the series preview earlier today. Now here is a look at the chat I had with Tom Smith of Rum Bunter, the Pirates Fansided site. Rum Bunter is one of the best Pirates sites to check out for the complete coverage of the Pirates on the web.

Without any further ado, here is a look at the chat that Tom and I had last night, regarding this upcoming series:

Ehsan: The Pittsburgh Pirates will be bring the third ranked pitching team, in terms of ERA, to Miami. What makes this Pirates pitching staff so good? Can they sustain their early season success?

Tom: The staff has been tremendous.  I think they will each regress, but as long as they are healthy it will be primarily sustainable as Burnett, Bedard and McDonald have been able to strike out the opposition with regularity.  Morton needs to rely on his sinker and in his last start he did that getting sick groundball rates as he did last season.  Correia is the weak link and at some point should be moved out of the rotation. 

The starters have been backed up by solid numbers from the bullpen even without Hanrahan having his best stuff to date.  Jason Grilli and Juan Cruz have slammed the door repeatedly, each putting up nice strikeout numbers.  Grilli has been off the charts in numerous high leverage situations. 

A positive sign for the Bucs is the fact that Jeff Karstens will be returning in the near future and should replace Correia.  Other arms like Brad Lincoln and believe it or not the AAA depth of Jo Jo Reyes (stop laughing) look to add depth along with Justin Wilson and Rudy Owens staff has been the remarkable.

Ehsan:Andrew McCutchen is one of the best young hitters in baseball. Is the Pirates offense, solely him, or do the Pirates have anyone else stepping up? If the Pirates can stay in striking distance of the division, do you see them making a move for a big bat?

Tom: Lately McCutchen has been the M(ay)VP for the Bucs offense.  He is coming to Miami on fire at the plate.  Neil Walker and Jose Tabata have been supportive.  But let’s just say the Pirates offense needs to step up. 

Rod Barajas and Clint Barmes have been offensive disappointments, and that’s saying a lot when we expected them to hit 230 at best.

A move for a bat seems very likely as the deadline approaches.

Ehsan: Which pitching match-up are you looking forward to see this series? Which pitcher/hitter match-up?

Tom: We’ve been waiting for Brad Lincoln to take the next step.  If he trusts his change up, he can have success.  The match-up we are anticipating is Lincoln’s curveball versus the hot Marlins bats.

Ehsan: What kind of impact has A.J. Burnett made on the Pirates pitching staff? Does he still have the stuff to be a top of the rotation guy?

Tom: Burnett has been tremendous on the mound.  Off the mound it’s been reported that he has taken a mentor role with the young Bucs staff particularly James McDonald who is having a great start to his season. 

We will see if he can sustain his success.  It certainly is hard to imagine his The Cardinals destroyed AJ.  We look forward to seeing him face the champs a second time. Throw the Cardinals start away, and AJ’s had a moster start to the year.  We can see his strikeout numbers continuing, but we cant imagine his numbers remaining so strong the rest of the way.

Ehsan: What are your predictions for this series? Who will step up for the Pirates, who will take a step back?

Tom: Pirates sweep the series.  The offense comes alive lead by Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen.  The key is how well Brad Lincoln pitches in his first start this year.

Ehsan: Bonus question: How many homers is Giancarlo Stanton going to hit this series?

Tom: Zero.

I also had the liberty of having a chance to chat it up with Tom on Rum Bunter as well. Here is the link for that chat.

You can ‘Like’ Marlin Maniac by clicking here. You can follow Marlin Maniac on Twitter @MarlinManiac and you can follow Ehsan Kassim on Twitter at @ehsank24.