PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan)- MLB Network Analyst and former Philadelphia Phillies closer Mitch Williams called into “The Cook and Poni Show” on Thursday to discuss the Pirates’ chances after the loss of A.J. Burnett.

“It’s a loss of a ton of innings and strikeouts” Williams said. “They really have to count on Liriano and Cole to repeat what they did last year.”

Williams tells the guys despite the loss of Burnett he thinks the Pirates have potential to have a pretty deep starting staff and the bullpen was lights out last year. They will need that again this season.

“If the pitchers can repeat what they did last year, I don’t see why they can’t be in the mix again,” Williams said.

He admits that Burnett will face a little tougher crowd now, but he will fit in well in Philadelphia. He said the stuff he has makes that rotation stronger.

“He just needs to realize that in Philadelphia, if they boo, they are booing your performance. It’s not personal,” Williams added. “If you go out and suck they are going to boo you because they expect a good performance.”

Williams tells the guys that he feels good about the Pirates being back in the mix in 2014 because they have good pitching, some big sticks and Clint Hurdle.

“What Clint does is makes believers out of themselves,” Williams said. “He is the perfect guy for a young team because he gets the best out of them.”

Despite liking the Pirates chances he still thinks the St. Louis Cardinals are the favorites to win the division.

“Their pitching is unbelievable,” Williams said. “They have good young arms that are not afraid.”

Listen to the full interview here:


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