STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The Pirates have reached the traditional "halfway point" by virtue of the All-Star break on our baseball calendar, even though the club technically arrived at that point a few games ago.
No matter. Now is as good a time as any to take stock of the club's arms over the "first half" from a sabermetric point of view. Today, let's focus on something that wasn't supposed to be present as, well, something to focus on. Here, we'll chop it up in a few digestible chunks, picking out some trends and nuggets along the way.
Before the season even began, the 2019 version of Pirates pitching was thought to be built around the breaking ball. When Jameson Taillon started throwing a slider in May 2018, it was meant to usher in a new era in which Pirates pitching was to be freed from the shackles of pitch to contact brought about by a fastball heavy diet.
Don't get it twisted: the Pirates are still beholden to the heat. But this year's model has embraced the right kind of heater.