Originally written on WHYGAVS?  |  Last updated 11/8/14
AJ Burnett pitched well and lost in the first game of 2013. Wandy Rodriguez pitched well in the second game and won. The most important pitcher in the rotation for the season's first two months is not Burnett, nor is it Rodriguez. It's today's starter, James McDonald. McDonald had a Jeckyll and Hyde 2012 season with an All-Star worthy first half and a brutal second half. He wasn't all that impressive this spring, and his spring ended with a shelling at the hands of a minor league lineup. Spring results are meaningless (remember how bad Tom Gorzelanny was in the spring of 2007 before his breakout year?), but McDonald is hugely important while the Pirates wait on Liriano, Cole, and Karstens. If McDonald pitches well, the Pirates will get good starts more often than not in the early season. If he doesn't, they won't. I really think it might be that simple.  McDonald's opponent is Travis Wood, who is not very good. The first pitch today is at 12:35 because the Pirates have to be in LA tomorrow. Fire up your radios for the first getaway day of 2013!  Huge tip o' the cap to @bwzimmerman for the illustration
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Did Rex Grossman turn down Browns offer?

Wes Welker admits to feeling effects of repeated concussions

Report: Jim Harbaugh's decision down to Michigan or Raiders

Jay Cutler to start again due to Jimmy Clausen concussion

Aldon Smith was reportedly drinking with Ray McDonald

Johnny Manziel ruled out for Week 17 with injury

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dwyane Wade hopes Heat fans give LeBron a warm reception

Adam Silver: No NBA team is tanking

Penguins having three more players tested for mumps

Jay Cutler is not the answer for the Titans

Josh Smith released by Detroit Pistons in surprising move

13 amazing NFL stats from Week 16

Video: Aquib Talib's amazing interception for a pick six

Alleged love child of Jerry Buss wants piece of family fortune

WATCH: BYU, Memphis fight after Miami Beach Bowl

FSU sends recruit 75 reasons to play for Seminoles

Dale Earnhardt Jr., girlfriend wear great Christmas sweaters

Brandon Marshall: Raiola mocked my mental illness

Don't mess with Seahawks punter Jon Ryan

Niners OT asked Manti Te'o about his fake girlfriend

Darren Sproles' wife Michel fires back at Eagles critics

Steve Smith expects 'couch quarterback' criticism

WATCH: Tennessee walk-on gets scholarship as bowl gift

Raiders player gives game check to young girl in need

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Wes Welker, wife confused over his concussions

BYU, Memphis fight after bowl game

FSU sends recruit an eccentric pitch

Brandon Marshall unloads on Raiola

Did Aldon Smith violate probation?

Johnny Manziel ruled out for Week 17

Appreciating Marshawn Lynch's crotch grab TD celebrations

D-Wade: Heat fans should cheer LeBron

Niners OT asked Te'o about fake girlfriend

Sproles' wife fires back at Eagles critics

Game of the week: Lions vs. Packers

'Manny' is the must-watch film about Manny Pacquiao

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.