I've said this before, but the biggest revelation of the AJ Burnett's time in Pittsburgh is that occasionally a pitcher with great stuff can take the mound and you'll know within minutes that he's going to take the game over. It happened for Burnett a few times last summer against the Astros and once on a nearly-unforgettable night against the Cubs and it happened again on Wednesday. Sometimes, AJ Burnett takes the mound and he's going to be the best player on the field that night and there's just no doubt about it from the outset. Really, isn't that all you can hope for from a pitcher?
Burnett was perfect through 5 1/3 and held the Cardinals hitless through 6 2/3 and it seemed for a while like he was going to need to be that good to get his first win of 2013. As it turned out, the Pirates put some extra runs on the board after Shelby Miller came out of the game and turned this one into a relatively easy win. Still, when a pitcher goes out and gives you seven innings of one-hit ball, striking out eight against one of the better offensive teams in the National League, I feel like you chalk that win up to him and say, "This is exactly why a team like the PIrates needs a pitcher like AJ Burnett."
The Pirates opened their ten (nine after a rainout) game homestand against the National League's best with a record of 3-6. Now they're 7-7. I know that it's April and I know that there are four games looming against the Braves, but this has all been pretty nice. A split against the Braves puts the Pirates in much better shape than I think any of us could've hoped for before this homestand began.
Really, this is about all you could have hoped for; this season had the potential to get off to one of those 3-15 or 4-14 death marches, but the Bucs are holding their own even with the spotty health of the starting staff. Y'know, maybe there isn't a great team in the Central this year, and maybe 85-87 wins will keep you in this thing and SONOFABITCH THEY'RE SUCKING ME IN AGAIN!!!