Pirates

Matt’s Stats: What would the Pirates need from their fifth starter to contend?

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Steven Brault is in the competition for the rotation's final spot. - MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

BRADENTON, Fla. -- There has been and will be much hand-wringing over the fifth starting pitcher the Pirates tote to Boston for opening day, and for good reason.

Last year, a lack of serviceable depth in the rotation doomed the Pirates to a season-killing June, when their offense fell off its early-season pace.

This spring, there's hope within the Pirates' camp that including real-life prospects instead of veteran retreads will lead to a better outcome, even though there is a serious shortage of major-league track record once you get beyond Gerrit Cole and Ivan Nova.

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