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 Post subject: Starting pitching
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 11:46 am 
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Continues to be hugely problematic.

If my memory is correct, Jim Colburn was far from a favorite of many posters on this Board over the previous couple of years because of what happened to Zach Duke and his inability to get Ollie Perez on track. I also recall many people touting what happened to Perez when he was tutored by a "real" pitching coach in Rick Peterson.

So . . . . Peterson has now been fired and part of the reason is reportedly his inability to obtain consistency from Ollie Perez (sound familiar?). Neither Gorzo nor Snell is anywhere close to where he was last year. Duke has performed somewhat better than last year and Maholm seems to have made some steps forward - although I think that it would be a fair argument as to whether he has made baby steps forward versus significant strides forward.

I don't pretend to have an answer for what is ailing the starting pitching staff. However, I continually find myself disgusted at the perceived inability to start games on a positive note and to put the offense behind the eight ball early in the game. While the overall offense has been better than many expected, it is still not a lineup that can be expected to outslug opponents. More than LaRoche, Bautista or Sanchez, starting pitching has held the team back and is, IMO, responsible for this team not having 5-7 more wins this year.

So . . . at risk of causing a lengty thread, here are some interesting numbers:
4-2-5-4-7-4-2-2-3-4-4

Those are the number of runs scored by Bucco opponents during Raul Chavez' starts behind the plate this year. And before everyone starts screaming at me about Doumit's hitting and calling games and blah, blah, blah, the justification for keeping Chavez over Paulino was management's observations as to the pitching staff's positive reaction to Chavez behind the plate. Assuming this to be accurate, I guess I would have been tempted to DH Doumit and get Chavez behind the plate. This gets Doumit's superior bat into the lineup but allows Chavez to work with the pitchers. Fully recognizing that - if Chavez gets hurt - that the Bucs don't have a replacement catcher for the game (can't move the DH into a position), I still think that may be the way to go. Paulino can be called back if Chavez gets hurt.

There may be many explanations for the numbers above (quality of opponent, opponent's lineup, etc, etc), I'd be real tempted to formulate a lineup in the AL parks which gets the superior defensive catcher on the field and keeps Doumit's superior bat in the lineup as well. Will this end Oquendo and Gorzo's woes or get better performances from Duke and Maholm? I don't know but . . . . I'd give it a shot.

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 Post subject: Re: Starting pitching
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:23 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
So . . . at risk of causing a lengty thread, here are some interesting numbers:
4-2-5-4-7-4-2-2-3-4-4


Extending further, here are the W/L records for those games:

W-W-W-L-L-W-L-W-W-W-W

So that's an 8-3 record when Chavez starts a game. Small sample size, but none-the-less compelling. The Pirates can win more than they lose if the opponent is held to four runs most of the time.

No. 9 wrote:
I guess I would have been tempted to DH Doumit and get Chavez behind the plate.


I could live with that.

It sucks having to use Sanchez as a DH, batting third to boot! The way he's hitting, it's a waste of an extra bat in the line-up. Play Gomez at 2b, DH Doumit, Bay, Mclouth, Nady/Michaels in the OF.


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 Post subject: Re: Starting pitching
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:49 pm 
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Last night Snell walked 6, SIX, batters in his 4 innings. Gorzelanny has been walking batters in droves. Neither one has consistently had the zip on their fastballs that they did last year.
Same with Dutramait in his bad outings. WALKS! This is hardly Ryan Doumit's fault. Maybe you want to question pitch selection here and there, but seriously...

I also don't have an answer for what the problem is with these guys, but I refuse to buy into the fact that it is the catcher's fault that they can't throw strikes and that they seem to have lost a few mph's on their fastballs.


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 Post subject: Re: Starting pitching
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:58 pm 
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PirateParrot wrote:
Last night Snell walked 6, SIX, batters in his 4 innings. Gorzelanny has been walking batters in droves. Neither one has consistently had the zip on their fastballs that they did last year.
Same with Dutramait in his bad outings. WALKS! This is hardly Ryan Doumit's fault. Maybe you want to question pitch selection here and there, but seriously...

I also don't have an answer for what the problem is with these guys, but I refuse to buy into the fact that it is the catcher's fault that they can't throw strikes and that they seem to have lost a few mph's on their fastballs.


Parrot, did you see last night's game? Snell was consistently pitching outside (as in balls) to RH hitters. Someones calling those pitches. Who? I don't know. I do know that Wehner made a comment to the effect that he was getting pissed watching Snell not go after hitters, especially with a two run lead that his team fought back to get him. Wehner also went on to say that it wouldn't be out of line for one of the players to tell Snell to throw frickin' strikes, challenge the hitters. As a position player, it's frustrating to have to watch Snell pitch like that.

I don't think Ian's problems are mechanical.


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 Post subject: Re: Starting pitching
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 1:13 pm 
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It's an unacceptable leap in logic to then imply without actually saying that people like Snell would throw strikes if only a good game caller were in the game.

Go ahead and change catchers and let us see the huge improvement in our pitchers and wins and loses, and forget the minor inconvienence of not having one of our best bats in the game.

Maybe worth it in inter-league play but don't forget that you are inserting a very weak bat in as well as Doumit which brings some negatives to the line up as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Starting pitching
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 1:33 pm 
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It seems like we talk about this every stinkin' year. Paulino, Cota, Doumit, Chavez...the Pirates pitchers just aren't very good. I don't blame the catchers at all.

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 Post subject: Re: Starting pitching
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 2:10 pm 
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Substitute2 wrote:
It's an unacceptable leap in logic to then imply without actually saying that people like Snell would throw strikes if only a good game caller were in the game.


I'm not implying anything. As a matter of fact, I don't belive that catchers exert that much influence on a pitchers ability to pitch. However, to flat out disconnect a catcher from the resultant pitching achievement seems odd to me.

Substitute2 wrote:
Go ahead and change catchers and let us see the huge improvement in our pitchers and wins and loses, and forget the minor inconvienence of not having one of our best bats in the game.


Ruth and Gehrig wouldn't have made a difference last night.


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 Post subject: Re: Starting pitching
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 4:41 pm 
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Argentum wrote:
Ruth and Gehrig wouldn't have made a difference last night.


Yes they would have, Ruth could have come in and pitched pretty well in middle relief...hell he'd probably of started the game and batted...

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Starting pitching
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 4:55 pm 
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nad69dan wrote:
Argentum wrote:
Ruth and Gehrig wouldn't have made a difference last night.


Yes they would have, Ruth could have come in and pitched pretty well in middle relief...hell he'd probably of started the game and batted...



Forgot about Ruth's pitching skills. I stand corrected.


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 Post subject: Re: Starting pitching
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 5:00 pm 
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Right now, the Pirates need all the help they can get...

I wonder what Chris Peters has left in the tank?

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 Post subject: Re: Starting pitching
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 5:05 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
Continues to be hugely problematic.

If my memory is correct, Jim Colburn was far from a favorite of many posters on this Board over the previous couple of years because of what happened to Zach Duke and his inability to get Ollie Perez on track. I also recall many people touting what happened to Perez when he was tutored by a "real" pitching coach in Rick Peterson.

So . . . . Peterson has now been fired and part of the reason is reportedly his inability to obtain consistency from Ollie Perez (sound familiar?). Neither Gorzo nor Snell is anywhere close to where he was last year. Duke has performed somewhat better than last year and Maholm seems to have made some steps forward - although I think that it would be a fair argument as to whether he has made baby steps forward versus significant strides forward.

I don't pretend to have an answer for what is ailing the starting pitching staff. However, I continually find myself disgusted at the perceived inability to start games on a positive note and to put the offense behind the eight ball early in the game. While the overall offense has been better than many expected, it is still not a lineup that can be expected to outslug opponents. More than LaRoche, Bautista or Sanchez, starting pitching has held the team back and is, IMO, responsible for this team not having 5-7 more wins this year.

So . . . at risk of causing a lengty thread, here are some interesting numbers:
4-2-5-4-7-4-2-2-3-4-4

Those are the number of runs scored by Bucco opponents during Raul Chavez' starts behind the plate this year. And before everyone starts screaming at me about Doumit's hitting and calling games and blah, blah, blah, the justification for keeping Chavez over Paulino was management's observations as to the pitching staff's positive reaction to Chavez behind the plate. Assuming this to be accurate, I guess I would have been tempted to DH Doumit and get Chavez behind the plate. This gets Doumit's superior bat into the lineup but allows Chavez to work with the pitchers. Fully recognizing that - if Chavez gets hurt - that the Bucs don't have a replacement catcher for the game (can't move the DH into a position), I still think that may be the way to go. Paulino can be called back if Chavez gets hurt.

There may be many explanations for the numbers above (quality of opponent, opponent's lineup, etc, etc), I'd be real tempted to formulate a lineup in the AL parks which gets the superior defensive catcher on the field and keeps Doumit's superior bat in the lineup as well. Will this end Oquendo and Gorzo's woes or get better performances from Duke and Maholm? I don't know but . . . . I'd give it a shot.

If there is any substance to this, I'd rather see Chavez working with Doumit than with the pitchers. But, before we talk about that, let's look at some more interesting numbers:

6-8-8-1-10-8-4-3-17-4-6-16-4-9

Those are the run totals allowed by Oriole pitchers in games that Chavez started in 2006. That's 7.43 runs per game when Chavez started. The O's allowed 5.37 runs per game when Chavez didn't start. Did he suddenly learn how to handle pitchers last year in Scranton at the age of 34?

While I agree that the starting pitching is killing us, let's look a little deeper at those starters.

Duke has an ERA of 4.24. In 2007 it was 5.53, and in 2006 it was 4.47, so he's improved. Did anyone predict he'd pitch this well back in spring training? Nope. He's been a nice surprise.

Maholm's ERA is 4.45. In 2007 it was 5.02, and in 2006 it was 4.76, so he has also improved. I don't think that he's been as much of a surprise as Duke, but he's within shouting distance of the NL average, so we really can't complain about his performance, since nobody ever saw him as a #1 or #2 starter to begin with.

Dumatrait's ERA is 3.84, which is vastly superior to what anyone expected from Morris.

So what it comes down to the fact that the starting pitching sucks because of two pitchers: Snell (5.84 ERA) and Gorzelanny (6.65 ERA). What do they have in common? For one thing, both of them aren't consistently throwing anywhere near as hard as they did last year. For another, they led the team in innings pitched last year. Lastly, Gorzelanny was routinely left in ballgames to run up very high pitch counts for a 24 year old in his first full season in the majors, and his innings pitched increased steeply as well. Snell also ran up a few high pitch count games. What's wrong with the Bucco starting pitching? Jim Tracy burned out his best two starters in a vain attempt to save his sorry ass. Here's hoping that they recover for next year.

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 Post subject: Re: Starting pitching
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:38 am 
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I find Sisy's reasoning far more plausible than No. 9's. I find it makes little sense to blame the catcher for the pitcher's woes.

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 Post subject: Re: Starting pitching
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:58 am 
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sisyphus wrote:

So what it comes down to the fact that the starting pitching sucks because of two pitchers: Snell (5.84 ERA) and Gorzelanny (6.65 ERA). What do they have in common? For one thing, both of them aren't consistently throwing anywhere near as hard as they did last year.


This is only partially true. Snell's velocity is just fine, has been just fine. Its his location that is off.

Gorzo has been consistantly gettting better and his velocity last night was consistantly up to his previous year's 91 or so.

Both of their problems seem to be mechanical right now. Gorzo tried to do what he did last year, which is crap the bed through ST, and turn on the pump in the season. He's learned he can't do it.

Not sure what the deal with Snell is.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Starting pitching
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:04 am 
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When you walk as many batters as Snell and Gorzo have this year, you are going to get burned. We tell pitchers as young as 9 or 10 that good things happen to them that throws strikes. Free passes are killer.


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 Post subject: Re: Starting pitching
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:04 pm 
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Snell seems to be about 6 inches from success, those being the 6 inches between his ears. I think he's our latest "head case" pitcher, following in the tradition of Kip Wells.


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 Post subject: Re: Starting pitching
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:27 pm 
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Sis, that is some impressive research. You're clearly on the correct side of this one. I'm glad because it is the position I have spoken to as well. I don't always see things the same as you, but in those cases I believe that you havce the right to be wrong.(LOL)

When No.9 reads this thread I promise he will have a serious response. A man with such strong opinions will not be able to resist his need to argue the point. Don't get all fired up 9, just having a little fun.

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 Post subject: Re: Starting pitching
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 3:48 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
sisyphus wrote:

So what it comes down to the fact that the starting pitching sucks because of two pitchers: Snell (5.84 ERA) and Gorzelanny (6.65 ERA). What do they have in common? For one thing, both of them aren't consistently throwing anywhere near as hard as they did last year.


This is only partially true. Snell's velocity is just fine, has been just fine. Its his location that is off.

I've been watching this closely, and it simply isn't true. Last year he was usually somewhere from 92-95 with his fastball. This year he's usually at 88-92. Maybe this is because he's taking something off of his fastball because he's having trouble locating it, but he's definitely not throwing as hard this year. If you don't believe me, ask Bob Walk.

Quote:
Gorzo has been consistantly gettting better and his velocity last night was consistantly up to his previous year's 91 or so.

You aren't watching the Tom Gorzelanny who is pitching for the Pirates. The only things he is consistent about his performance is throwing a high percentage of his pitches out of the strike zone and giving up a lot of runs. Here are his game logs. I see no signs of consistent improvement.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/pi/gl ... &year=2008

Quote:
Both of their problems seem to be mechanical right now. Gorzo tried to do what he did last year, which is crap the bed through ST, and turn on the pump in the season. He's learned he can't do it.

Not sure what the deal with Snell is.

ZM

Tired or sore arms lead to mechanical problems. Gorzo didn't TRY to crap the bed through spring training; he had shoulder problems, and he couldn't pitch effectively. He claims that the shoulder problems are gone, but he still can't pitch. I flat don't believe him.

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 Post subject: Re: Starting pitching
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 4:09 pm 
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The real question is why are they letting Doumit call the pitches from the bench these past 2 days? Certainly we wouldn't be giving up all of these runs with Chavez calling the game?

(I seriously try to stop being sarcastic, but its a disease I tell ya.)


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