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Thread: Pirates Starting Pitching.. Boy It's Bad

      
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    Default Pirates Starting Pitching.. Boy It's Bad

    We all know that the Pittsburgh Pirates Starting pitching is bad, really bad. The Pirates can't compete in games against other teams #1 and #2 pitchers because we don't have the Starting Pitching ourselves to maintain a close game. We lack Starting Pitching that doesn't rely heavily on Defense and after watching out defense surrender 6 Errors against the Chicago White Sox the other night, that's not a good thing.

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ID:	2989What really has surprised me though was noticing that a couple of pitchers were showing improved K Rates this year, most notably Ross Ohlendorf and Zach Duke. Ohlendorf always had the potential to raise his K Rate to a League Average. He showed that from August and on last year when he went to a new delivery that brought his velocity and K Rate back up. Duke is sitting at a 5.6 K/9 which is highest since his over achieving Rookie Season.

    Improved K Rates should be helpful as long as your BB Rates are down. Here lies the problem with the Pirates starting Pitching. The BB/9 Rates for every Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher is up and in some cases way up. When you give up free passes you become more hittable. When you get behind in pitch counts, you become more hittable. Pirates Starting Pitching has been more hittable this year as a result.

    Pitcher | 2009 | 2010

    Ross Ohlendorf | 2.7 BB/9 | 4.7 BB/9 |
    Zach Duke | 2.1 BB/9 | 3.0 BB/9 |
    Paul Maholm | 2.8 BB/9 | 3.4 BB/9 |
    Brad Lincoln | -- | 3.8 BB/9 |
    Charlie Morton | 3.7 BB/9 | 3.3 BB/9|


    I'm not going to list guys like Karstens, Burres and McCutchen who either got small sample sizes or were short term plugs. Zach Duke has never had a BB/9 that high in his entire career. Brad Lincoln hasn't gone a full season in the Minors with a BB/9 of a 2.0 or more.

    Poor control has been the Starting Pitching Staffs biggest issue or one of them. When you can't get ahead in pitch counts, when you are pitching with guys on base, you aren't dictating like you are when you get ahead in counts or keeping guys off the bases. As it's been with most of this 2010 Pittsburgh Pirates team, there's been a lot of underachieving and for some it's been in areas where these players have historically been good. For the pitching staff it's "control".

    Another big issue which is tied in with the lack of Control is this Starting Pitching Staff's showing with Runners On Base and in Scoring position. It's been talked about before with Charlie Morton who has decreased his BB/9 this year and greatly increased his K/9 but has seen his Hits per 9 jumped from 9.5 in 2009 to 13.7 in 2010.

    Below shows what the Starting Pitching has done with Men on Base (batting averages against) and RISP (batting averages against)

    Pitcher | Men On | RISP | Bases Empty

    Ross Ohlendorf | .291 | .264 | .267 |
    Zach Duke | .312 | .337 | .350 |
    Paul Maholm | .250 | .253 | .307 |
    Charlie Morton | .363 | .365 | .324 |
    Brad Lincoln | .360 | .250 | .182 |


    Sort of a mixed bag. Zach Duke has basically regressed back to what he was prior to last season which is a guy that serves up Batting Practice. Ross Ohlendorf looks fine except when he's faced with a pitching with a Runner on 1st. That's when opponents are hitting a ridiculous .346 against him. Paul Maholm has silently had an effective season despite low K rates and higher BB rates. His ERA is sitting at 3.63 despite a poor 1.47 WHIP which is inflated by the much higher BB/9 number.

    Here's a stat look at how the Starting Pitchers fair the first time through an Opponents Lineup and the 2nd time through an Opponents Lineup. I put this out there because it's a pressure situation and the pitching staff has struggled in these types of situations. The entire team has actually.

    Pitcher | 1st Time | 2nd Time

    Ross Ohlendorf | .206 | .322 |
    Zach Duke | .263 | .379 |
    Paul Maholm | .274 | .298 |
    Charlie Morton | .366 | .371 |
    Brad Lincoln | .250 | .400 |


    Outside of Paul Maholm and Charlie Morton (2 extremes) those are some hefty jumps in Batting Averages Against. Conspiracy Theorists might suggest tipping of pitches but that's highly unlikely especially with this many pitchers doing this poorly a 2nd time through a lineup. Are they predictable? If so, who is to blame? Is it Joe Kerrigan calling a lot of the pitches from the side? Is Ryan Doumit doing most of it? Is the pitcher himself shaking off a lot of pitches or having too much control over pitch selection? Whatever the reason, this is a big problem and it's John Russell's responsibility as Manager to get this fixed whether he sits down with Joe Kerrigan, the players or all of them.

    You simply cannot win games with these types of pitching results. In a way it is a good thing that the Offense has struggled and under performed this season because it simply would've been wasted. If you don't want to believe that you can go back in time to Bob Smizik's World Series 2008 Pittsburgh Pirates team. A team who offensively at one point had scored the 4th most runs in the league and were still carrying a sub .500 record by quite a few games.

    I'm not calling for heads to roll, or wanting to see Joe Kerrigan fired like so many knee-jerking wanna-be Pirates fans but we should be getting far better results than what we have been getting from the pitching staff. For whatever reason (and I'm sure there's multiple opinions and some of which involved zero thought) this Starting Pitching Staff is Predictable. The Staff lacks command in pressure situations, struggles with men on base (pressure situations) but has shown in the past that it's far better than the 2010 results. I'll continue to hold out future optimism that the Starting Pitching staff will offer up far better results. These guys have all shown the ability to do so and for the most part are all young.
    Last edited by Kipper; Oct-09-2012 at 03:21 PM.
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    Default Re: Pirates Starting Pitching.. Boy It's Bad

    Duke is a terrible pitcher...just like he's always been...he gets hit a ton...that's not in any way successful.
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    Default Re: Pirates Starting Pitching.. Boy It's Bad

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBen2112 View Post
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    Duke is a terrible pitcher...just like he's always been...he gets hit a ton...that's not in any way successful.
    Nope not at all. Although, I'd be willing to bet that if he reduced his BB/9 rate to his career average, his H/9 will decrease as well. Continuing the domino process that would knock some points off of his ERA.

    If duke doesn't have control, he's got nothing.
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    Default Re: Pirates Starting Pitching.. Boy It's Bad

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBen2112 View Post
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    Duke is a terrible pitcher...just like he's always been...he gets hit a ton...that's not in any way successful.
    According to Dejan in his chat the other day there are 29 teams in the league who would be interested in trading for Zach Duke. Yeah, sure...

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    Default Re: Pirates Starting Pitching.. Boy It's Bad

    Quote Originally Posted by jnn123 View Post
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    According to Dejan in his chat the other day there are 29 teams in the league who would be interested in trading for Zach Duke. Yeah, sure...
    Let's start the bidding process then.

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    Default Re: Pirates Starting Pitching.. Boy It's Bad

    Quote Originally Posted by jnn123 View Post
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    According to Dejan in his chat the other day there are 29 teams in the league who would be interested in trading for Zach Duke. Yeah, sure...
    What's our team defense? What's our offensive ranking? Yeah...I guess there could be 29 other teams on which Duke would suck LESS.
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    Default Re: Pirates Starting Pitching.. Boy It's Bad

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBen2112 View Post
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    What's our team defense? What's our offensive ranking? Yeah...I guess there could be 29 other teams on which Duke would suck LESS.
    The Pirates only need 1 team in love with Duke to offer up something in return.

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    Default Re: Pirates Starting Pitching.. Boy It's Bad

    Paul Maholm very quietly pitching well again. Unfortunately he's getting absolutely NO run support and with the offenses plate discipline, we might not see the BP in this game but Maholm hasn't been flashy or anything, he's getting the outs when need be and if someone gets on base he's doing well to limit them (something Ohlendorf was terrible at last night).
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    Default Re: Pirates Starting Pitching.. Boy It's Bad

    I take back what I said. The 7th inning for Maholm has been what this pitching staff has come to be. Get runners on base and none of them have the ability to get a needed K and then they become extremely hittable. Maholm completely fell apart
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