Good showings could raise their series win percentage and Atkins' batting average above the Mendoza line
On April 26th, the Pirates were 11-7; from April 13-20, the Bucs recorded FOUR shutouts, each behind a different starting pitcher. But as the Pirates do, they fell on hard time and lost 12 of 13 and are back in the familiar NL Central cellar.
Pittsburgh has also underperformed their Pythagorean win percentage - they are 14-20 despite being outscored by just four.
The Rockies won the season series from Pittsburgh last year 5-2, sweeping a four game set at Coors and dropping two at PNC. Colorado also won the series in 2007 4-3 on the strength of a three game sweep at PNC.
Pittsburgh Pirates (14-20, L1, 6th, 6.5 GB)
Friday-Sunday : 3-game series at PNC Park
The Pirates are led by their starting pitching, which has the 3rd best ERA in MLB. The underrated young group of Paul Maholm, Zach Duke, Jeff Karstens, Ian Snell and Ross Ohlendorf (all 26, except Snell, who is 27) lead the majors in quality starts and are in a four way tie for third with 4 shutouts. The whole staff has a strong 3.50 ERA at PNC Park.
However, the Pirates have the largest negative split between FIP and ERA in the majors, and their BABIP allowed is second lowest so indications are they are getting a bit lucky, and it will only get worse for the Bucs.
The below average offense got a huge blow when catcher Ryan Doumit went down with an injury last week. The have managed with the emergence of Robinzon Diaz behind the dish.
Of the regulars on Sanchez, McLouth and Diaz rate are at least average in terms of wRAA.
This is a series where the Rockies pitchers have an opportunity to impress. It is nearly a top ten pitchers' park this year against one of the bottom ten offenses. I'll leave it at that - sorry for cutting things short, but I have to run and grab some diploma thing.
Tonight, 5:05 pm MDT
|2009 - Jorge De La Rosa||0-3||3.53||1.21||35||16|
|2009 - Paul Maholm||3-1||4.06||1.33||21||14|
Saturday, May 16, 5:05 MDT
|2009 - Aaron Cook||2-1||5.03||1.58||21||19|
|2009 - Ian Snell||1-5||4.50||1.58||27||24|
Sunday, May 17, 11:35 MDT
|2009 - Ubaldo Jimenez||3-4||4.72||1.50||34||20|
|2009 - Zach Duke||4-3||2.52||1.08||28||11|
Robinzon Diaz (.389/421/.611) has really stepped up in place of the injured Ryan Doumit, especially in the past week. Freddy Sanchez (.333/.444/.400), Jack Wilson (.375/.375/.500) and Nyjer Morgan (.333/.455/.444) have all heated up as well.
Brandon Moss (.238/.238/.439) and Adam LaRoche (.200/.238/.450)have struggled the most recently. Paul Maholm gave up 7 runs in his last start.