By: Jacob Walsh
On December 2nd, 2021, The Pittsburgh Pirates, along with the rest of Major League Baseball came to a standstill as the Player’s Association began a lockout to strong-arm the league owners to a new labor deal. After almost 4 months on March 10th, the lockout ended and both sides agreed to a new deal.
However, due to the length of the lockout, MLB’s spring training was delayed along with the beginning of the regular season. Back in February, Spring Training was postponed to at least March 5th, but would not begin till after the 10th. This canceled the first few weeks of the Regular Season and pushed it back to begin on April 7th. That is where the Pittsburgh Pirates stand now.
Finally, the MLB Regular Season has begun! The Buccos battled hard throughout the past two weeks, placing them surprisingly tied in second place at 5-4 (.556) with the rival Chicago Cubs.
The Pirates began their Spring Training season with a 4-3 victory against the New York Yankees on March 18th. Through the rest of March and the beginning of April, Pittsburgh compiled a 7-7 (.500) record. They finished tied for 7th in MLB Spring Training.
The Buccos went back to their old ways once the regular season began, dropping their first two games against National League (NL) Central Division rival St. Louis Cardinals (4/7 9-0 L, 4/9 6-2 L). Pittsburgh struck back in dominating fashion in the opening series final game, beating St. Louis 9-4. The fourth game of the series was postponed due to weather.
Back in Pittsburgh on the 12th, the Pirates had their own Opening Day. As a nod to the city that the team calls home, the game was played in Pittsburgh on 4/12, at 4:12 p.m.; “412” is Pittsburgh’s area code and well-known nickname. The Chicago Cubs were the visiting team and would end up winning the game. The Pirates and Cubs played once more the next day with the Pirates getting revenge in a 6-2 win.
With a shortened time span for the Regular Season, Pittsburgh would host the Nationals for a series right after the Cubs games. The Bucs and Nats began the series trading wins for the first two games (4/14 PIT W 9-4, 4/15 WSH W 7-2). The tables turned for the final two games with Pittsburgh winning both, 6-4 and 5-3. The Pirates won the homestand series 3-1.
Some key players to the Pirates early success are Ke’Bryan Hayes, Michael Chavis, Bryan Reynolds, and Will Crowe. Hayes leads the team in hits with 13 and has recorded 5 runs and 2 RBIs. Michael Chavis has 8 hits, 3 runs, and 6 RBIs, along with 1 home run (HR was a Grand Slam). Reynolds leads the Pirates in home runs and has 9 hits, 3 runs, and 3 RBIs. At pitching, Will Crowe stands atop the team, playing in four of the nine games (9.2 innings pitched). He has only allowed 3 hits with an astounding 0.00 ERA and 0.72 WHIP.
The Pirates will be playing thirteen straight games, beginning last Tuesday and going to April 24th. Pittsburgh plays their NL Central rival Milwaukee Brewers in a three-game away series, beginning Monday, April 18th.
National League Central Division Standings (as of April 17)
1. St. Louis Cardinals – 5-3 (.625)
2. Pittsburgh Pirates – 5-4 (.556)
3. Chicago Cubs – 5-4 (.556)
4. Milwaukee Brewers – 5-5 (.500)
5. Cincinnati Reds – 2-8 (.200)