As for the defense, the reason the Pirates pitchers rely on defense is because most of them are above average ground ball pitchers. They also don’t strike out a lot of batters. That puts more emphasis on the defense. So when the defense struggles, the pitching staff is more likely to struggle.

]]>Because that workload is as tough as it is, they wore themselves out and the bullpen also, that is why the stats, although important are skewed somewhat to me.

I will try to put it another way,

If you put two pitchers side by side and they both pitch 5 innings and they both give up 1 run, with your stats (ERA) they are the same, that is not what I am talking about, I am saying if one of them gives up 2 hits and puts 2 runners on in 5 innings and the other pitcher gives up 2 hits and 1 run in 5 innings these pitchers are not same to me, despite the fact they both would have the same ERA. To me, the first pitcher is a Pirate starter the second pitcher is a 1 or a 2. IMO the first pitcher will wear down long before the second pitcher, thus his ERA will move him up into the 4′s and the other pitcher could maintain a 1-3 ranking IMO.

I also mentioned that the Pirate defense had a lot to do with the stats for these Pirate pitchers, no matter what the stats say, IMO, I don’t think the Pirate starters are good enough to win for an entire year.

The stats actually do reflect “wear” on these pitchers and “wear” is why I will not grade them out any higher than I am grading them out.

Morton: 5.92 IP/Start

McDonald: 5.52

Maholm: 6.24

Karstens: 5.95

Correia: 5.88

The difference between these guys and a number one starter is about half an inning to an inning per start. Keep in mind that most teams only have one top of the rotation guy, which means you’re only adding the difference of one starter, not all five.

Number four and five starters aren’t going 5-6 innings every time out. That’s 160-192 innings in a 32 start season. Those are the numbers for a number three starter. Also, as shown, the projected ERAs for number four and five starters are closer to 5.00. These guys are mostly 4.00 ERA pitchers.

You’ve got a group of guys who are mostly putting up six innings per start, and an xFIP in the 4.00 range. That’s not a group of number four or number five starters.

]]>ERA is a popular stat when it comes to pitchers, but I think the Pirate pitchers showed more problems than their ERA’s would lead you to believe.

I do number them 1-6, I do not use ERA’s as the total criteria for how good they are.

4 and 5 starters are more like what the Pirate starters are IMO. They are 5-6 inning pitchers, which is what a 4 or 5 will do, they are not 8-9 inning pitchers. Yes, they can get you 7 or 8 innings on occasion, but that is not their talent level.These types of pitchers tend to use a lot of bullpen and not many bullpens can carry a team the whole year, in the process they will wear out, the bullpen will wear out and eventually the rest of the team will wear out, it is a trickle down affect.

Their innings pitched is also misleading, they rarely got on a roll, always pitching with men on base, when they pitched 5 innings or more they labored far too much, true they may not have given up many runs in that 5 or 6 innings but the work load took it’s toll.

Another point of interest with last years pitching! The first half of last year the Pirate defense was next to spectacular at times, keeping these pitchers in a lot of games, when that defense wore down, the pitching went down also.

McDonald was the only one that improved on his ERA in the 2nd half, but in the first half he contributed to the wearing down of the bullpen more than any of them, it was not unusual for him to have 80- 90 pitches by the 5th inning, even celebrating going 7 in one game. ]]>