Prior to Thursday’s game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Atlanta Braves, Clint Hurdle talked about how the back end of the starting rotation knows there is competition on the way, and after Jeff Locke’s performance in a 6-4 Atlanta win the Pirates manager elaborated on just what it is Locke needs to improve on.
“The one thing that continues to I think just challenge him is his overall consistency,” Hurdle said. “There’s some sequences that are sharp but there’s too many misses. There’s too many pitches that are a ball out of his hand.”
Thursday’s start won’t be remembered for the pitches that were balls out of Locke’s hand.
“Some balls that when he missed were right over the plate,” Hurdle said. “The home run has kind of bit him a little bit along the way.”
Locke was tagged for long balls by the Braves’ B.J. Upton, Chris Johnson and Justin Upton, but was bailed out several times by the Pirates hitting home runs of their own.
“They hit the ball over the fence,” Locke said. “I threw some pitches I wish I could take back. A couple of guys don’t really miss those mistakes too often. The biggest thing for me is I really didn’t get ahead of too many people.”
Atlanta entered the game as the undeniable hottest team in baseball and lead the majors in home runs, so it was not too much of a surprise to see the Braves pound the ball they way they did, but Locke said that just makes it more fun for him especially with his history with Atlanta.
“It’s guys I’ve faced before and guys I’ve played with in the minor leagues,” he said. “We’ve got all the reports on them I’ve just got to be more efficient.”