Pirates

Kovacevic: On Pirates’ ‘length,’ Penguins’ tall task, sitting Phil

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Starling Marte singles Monday at PNC Park. - MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

"The lineup is longer. I think the lineup is stronger."

Clint Hurdle's a magnificently well-spoken individual and, even by his high standard, that rhythmic beauty Monday evening stood out. And only partially because it was accompanied by a fair measure of truth pertaining to the Pirates' lineup.

They can hit. It never should have been doubted that they would.

I was writing that all through the offseason, all through the salary-dump cacophony and season-ticket cancellations, and I did so because the data powerfully supported that a lineup with Josh Harrison, Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, Josh Bell, Francisco Cervelli and Jordy Mercer wasn't going to suddenly stink. Especially once augmented with a reasonably reliable bat in Corey Dickerson. Add to that the promising potential of Colin Moran, plus a bench with Adam Frazier, David Freese and Sean Rodriguez.

As J-Hay spoke, with flair approaching Hurdle's, "Oh, we'll hit. We'll hit all day long."

That last word clearly is critical to the conversation.

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