PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – MLB Network Analyst and former Pirate Sean Casey joined “The Cook and Poni Show” on Tuesday to talk about the Pirates and the opening week of the 2014 season.

The guys asked Casey if he still looks at the St. Louis Cardinals as the favorite to win the National league Central Division again in the 2014.

“No doubt,” Casey said. “You look up and down that lineup and that rotation. They are solid. They are clearly the best team but the Reds will be good again too.”

Casey said the Pirates have their work cut out for them this year. The Cardinals, Reds and even the Brewers will be real threats.

“The Central is going to be tough again,” Casey said. “If the Pirates are going to win it, they are going to earn it.”

Casey told the guys that a good sign from the Pirates is through the first six games of the season is they are winning much like they did last year with good pitching and getting big hits when they need them.

Casey said it was great to see the Pirates get back to their winning ways last season and with the rotation they have and the bullpen being lights out, he expects they can be great again this year. But, it won’t be easy.

“They won 94 games last year,” Casey said. “It’s not easy to win over 90 games. A lot has to go right.”

Casey tells the guys that the Pirates may need to lean on Charlie Morton a bit more this year with the loss of A.J. Burnett.

“(Morton) has everything he needs to be that front line starter,” Casey said.

Casey said the only question mark in that rotation is Edinson Volquez, who looked good in his first start.

“He has always had great stuff. He has a great arm, but sometimes that sinker goes flat,” Casey said.

That Pirates’ pitching staff might have to carry the load again if this team struggles to score runs. Casey told the guys he likes what he sees so far from the guys at first and in right field.

“I like what they have done, but you need big production from those spots,” Casey said. “They may have to wait for the right time to make a move, but they feel these guys can get the job done until the deadline because they would have made a move by now if there was somebody out there they liked.”

Listen to the full interview here:

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