I know this has been mentioned multiple times throughout a few different posts and comments, but during my browsing this morning I noticed that the Pirates defense has been worlds better than 2010. In 2010, the Pirates had a team UZR of -63.6 and a UZR/150 of -8.5, both of which were the worst in all of major league baseball. Through this point of the season in 2011, our UZR is 5.1 (9th in the MLB) and our UZR/150 is 6.0 (6th in the MLB). Obviously the pitching has been better, but I'd venture to say a good portion of the improvement has been due to the better defensive play we have seen this year. There is also the fact that offensive numbers are down league wide which is helping our pitching numbers look a lot better. I believe this fact helps the argument that defense is potentially a larger contributor to our success relative to last year than the pitching has been year over year.
I'm not saying that we have not made improvements to the pitching staff, because obviously guys like Morton, Hanrahan, Karstens, Resop, and Veras have either improved or provided improvement over their replacements, but I do think the improvement has been somewhat blown out of proportion by the media and some people on this website.