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Three of the top five reasons to believe in the Pirates are "good vibes," "this is not really a young team" (as if that's a mark in their favor), and "Paul Maholm." But hey, I can't blame the Post-Gazette. They tried. I'd have trouble writing that portion of the article too. And the Mr. Hyde portion of the article--about why not to believe in the Bucs--is dead-on.

I didn't mention Maholm to make a cheap shot, by the way. He's a perfectly good pitcher, I like to watch him play, I think some of the improvements in his numbers last year are likely to stick, and he's exceeded the expectations most folks had for him. The problem is that he is, at best, a good starting pitcher. He's not a great one. On a good team, he's a #3 or, if he keeps performing the way he did last year, a #2.

The article, of course, doesn't say he's an ace, only that the Pirates' other pitchers can learn from him. Unfortunately, though, Maholm's been with the team for a couple years now, and it's not clear that anyone's learned anything. Tom Gorzelanny obviously wasn't paying attention to Maholm's work ethic, for example. Ian Snell wasn't following Maholm's path toward a breakout of his own.