Pirates Have Hardest Opening NL Schedule and Yesterdays Game

**Buster Olney ranked Pirate’s with the hardest NL schedule. Here is what he said:

Games against teams with records of .500 or better in 2012: 33 of their first 42
Home/road: 22 of their first 42 at home
Schedule notes: There is a perception that the Pirates have a whole lot at stake early in the season, as they try to rebound from their second-half collapse last year, and they could get a strong indication of just how good they are — or just how tough a year it’s going to be — right out of the gate. After they open with the Cubs, the Pirates’ next 29 games — that’s 29 straight — are against teams that contended last year, including the Cardinals, Nationals and Braves. In fact, the Pirates see the Nationals and Braves more early in this season than the Phillies do, despite the fact that they play in a different division.
The hurdle ahead: The Pirates get a tough series of games in late May, too, including a four-game interleague stretch with the Tigers.

Can be found at http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/olney_buster/id/8980251/mlb-ranking-strength-early-season-national-league-schedules

                But requires ESPN Insider.

**Pirates also won 3-2 yesterday in their first Spring Training game against the Rays.

**“Locke pitched three hitless innings. He went 10-5 with Triple-A Indianapolis last year, and is competing for the fifth rotation spot with fellow prospect Kyle McPherson. He was chosen the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year, said he was pleased with his effective 32-pitch outing and knows competing with McPherson will be tough, especially with a close friend.”

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