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Thread: Pirates' rotation off to slow start

      
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    Default Pirates' rotation off to slow start

    Spring training: Pirates' rotation off to slow start
    Collective ERA is 8.56, with plenty of wildness, but variables abound

    Saturday, March 13, 2010
    By Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


    Pirates pitcher Ross Ohlendorf has a 4.15 ERA in spring training.

    LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- It is early and, as everybody wearing a baseball cap will remind anyone within earshot, spring training numbers mean very, very little. Especially when it comes to pitching.

    Still, here are two fairly indisputable points ...

    1. The Pirates' starting pitchers, collectively, are off to a lousy start.

    2. The Pirates will go nowhere in 2010, not even in the direction of modest progress, if their starting pitchers do not represent their strong suit. And that tends to at least start with a productive spring.

    In 11 Grapefruit League games, including the one shortened by rain against the Atlanta Braves Friday at Champion Stadium, the five pitchers projected for the season-opening rotation have a combined 8.56 ERA and, in 20 innings, have given up 17 hits and 19 walks while striking out just 10.

    There are no bright spots, either: Ross Ohlendorf, charged with two hits and a walk in 1 1/3 innings before the rain came Friday, has a 4.15 ERA. And that looks golden next to Paul Maholm's 6.00, Charlie Morton's 7.20, Zach Duke's 7.71 and Kevin Hart's 21.00.

    Cause for even some concern?

    "They're doing fine," manager John Russell said. "Everybody's starting to make progress. They're throwing strikes, keeping the ball down for the most part. That's good. All in all, I think everybody's doing a nice job."

    "We'll be fine. I think we're going to have a really good rotation," Ohlendorf said. "The biggest difference between now and the season is that you're not used to being out there, having that adrenaline. Some years, it clicks right away. Other years, it takes a while. And this is a small sample size, too."

    No one can dispute that, as the staff's 20 innings are the rough equivalent of three regular-season starts. Another factor: Little game-planning is done for opponents, given the emphasis on working on individual pitches. For example, a starter can set out to throw mostly changeups in a given outing, even if the changeup is not one of his best pitches, even if Alex Rodriguez loves to hit changeups.

    Still ...

    "Sure, ideally, you'd rather have everything going great the whole way through," Ohlendorf said. "But what's important is how you finish up."

    [HIGH-LIGHT]Why was game played?[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    The Pirates' game with Atlanta -- stopped after three innings and the Pirates leading, 1-0, on Ronny Cedeno's RBI double -- was the only game anyone attempted to play in the Grapefruit League Friday, as storms blanketed most of Florida.

    And the Braves' decision to give it a try was a curious one.

    Twice early in the morning, the Pirates were told not to begin their two-hour bus ride to the middle of the state. Then, despite forecasts of consistent rain, they were cleared to leave Bradenton at 10 a.m., just three hours before the scheduled first pitch. Meanwhile, the rain never stopped. The start of the game was delayed by a half-hour and, after two more delays, the umpires finally called it.

    Playing conditions were abysmal, with a wet mound, soaked infield and large puddles in the outfield. The grounds crew was pouring dozens of bags of quick-dry dirt across the infield, as if it were a playoff game.

    Asked if he was surprised to play, Russell replied simply: "Yeah."

    Asked if spring games should be played in such conditions: "That's not something I'm going to get into. It was just a rainy day."

    Asked if he was worried about injury: "I think both sides were. Once they called it, they just realized it was going to be too wet."

    Players in both clubhouses were upset about the conditions.

    "Nobody wants to get hurt," center fielder Andrew McCutchen said.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]Ohlendorf unhurt by liner[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    Ohlendorf was struck squarely on the right calf by a Yunel Escobar line drive in the second inning, but he pronounced himself fine.

    "Just got stung," he said.

    That would be his last pitch, just before the second of the three delays.

    Despite the three baserunners in a short period, Ohlendorf sounded encouraged: "I'm still not in midseason form, but I'm working toward it."

    [HIGH-LIGHT]Buried treasure[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    The April 5 home opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers is nearly sold out. A few seats have been set aside for anyone buying season-ticket plans, but individual sales are being limited to standing-room.

    Brad Lincoln, who had been set to pitch in relief today against the Boston Red Sox, now will start the B-game Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles.

    The Pirates' first blood drive of 2010, in partnership with the Central Blood Bank, will be Monday, noon to 6 p.m., inside PNC Park's press entrance. All donors will receive two tickets to the April 18 game against the Cincinnati Reds.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10072/1042531-63.stm
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    Default Re: Pirates' rotation off to slow start

    Kind of a stupid and useless article unless it was designed to cause panic and give those that crowd the comments section of his blog something to ***** and gripe about.

    Everyone with half of a brains worth of baseball knowledge knows that spring training stats mean ****. Look at how the Pirates hitters have roughed up C.C. Sabathia in 2 games. Do you think they are sitting over there in New York iun panic mode because of it? Of course not.... We've seen players have amazing spring and then the season starts and they BLOW, we've seen guys have lousy springs and the season starts and they are fine.

    For a lot of the Spring, these guys using a lot of this time to work on specifics. A pitcher might go out in one outting having to use a specific pitch a certain percentage of the time to work on it and get comfortable with it. Chances are the pticher is going to get thumped at some point since he's throwing more of a one pitch than normal and not mixing pitches. Some pitchers are working specifics with a delivery and that can throw off a pitcher... you start seeing more complete game type stuff near the end of Spring Training but for now, Pitchers moreso than hitters are doing a lot of things they normally won't be during real games

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    Default Re: Pirates' rotation off to slow start

    I saw Ohlendorf pitch in that rain-soaked game v. Atlanta. He put two batters on that shouldn't have, then got them out on the basepaths. Once the two got on he looked pretty sharp, I thought.

    Yesterday Charlie Morton gave up a hti against the Yankees starters (minus ARod)in four, and today Zach was working almost exclusively on his off-speed stuff. He walked a few, but I thought he looked pretty darn good.

    I agree that this article was a piece of garbage....not sure what the intent would be, other than to maybe set the stage for a "wow the Bucco starters have come a long way" article sometime a month into the season?

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    Default Re: Pirates' rotation off to slow start

    Ehh... Sometimes I "hit it out of the park" with the articles posted, and sometimes I "strike out"...
    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

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    Default Re: Pirates' rotation off to slow start

    Quote Originally Posted by just_ridin View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    I saw Ohlendorf pitch in that rain-soaked game v. Atlanta. He put two batters on that shouldn't have, then got them out on the basepaths. Once the two got on he looked pretty sharp, I thought.

    Yesterday Charlie Morton gave up a hti against the Yankees starters (minus ARod)in four, and today Zach was working almost exclusively on his off-speed stuff. He walked a few, but I thought he looked pretty darn good.

    I agree that this article was a piece of garbage....not sure what the intent would be, other than to maybe set the stage for a "wow the Bucco starters have come a long way" article sometime a month into the season?
    Morton was stunningly good in that outing. Not promising a Cy Young but that was definitely something to feel positive about....

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    Default Re: Pirates' rotation off to slow start

    Quote Originally Posted by just_ridin View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    I saw Ohlendorf pitch in that rain-soaked game v. Atlanta. He put two batters on that shouldn't have, then got them out on the basepaths. Once the two got on he looked pretty sharp, I thought.

    Yesterday Charlie Morton gave up a hti against the Yankees starters (minus ARod)in four, and today Zach was working almost exclusively on his off-speed stuff. He walked a few, but I thought he looked pretty darn good.

    I agree that this article was a piece of garbage....not sure what the intent would be, other than to maybe set the stage for a "wow the Bucco starters have come a long way" article sometime a month into the season?
    You mentioning how duke was working exclusively on off speed stuff was what I was taking about in my post. He's not mixing his pitches like a real game. He's trying to find a good consistent release point, trying to get comfortable throwing the off speed stuff, the command and location. A batter hitting the offspeed stuff isn't as much of a concern. Pitching coaches want to see the command of it and see it in the strike zone. If it gets hit, it's generally brushed off in these instances.

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Ehh... Sometimes I "hit it out of the park" with the articles posted, and sometimes I "strike out"...
    Not your fault. We all just post the articles and then it's a matter of discovering if they were informative or not

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