First Pitch: The Bullpen, The Depth, and The Regression

I’ve spent most of the day working on finishing up the draft rankings with John Dreker. We will be writing up the draft rankings article tomorrow, and recording the rest of the draft podcast. All of that will go up on Tuesday as we prepare for the MLB Draft on Thursday. Because I spent most of the day working on those rankings, I’m going with a “thoughts” article tonight. **How great was the bullpen tonight?...

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Pirates Ride Jones’ River Shot, Superb Bullpen To 5-4 Comeback Win

When PNC Park was built in 2001 along the North Shore of the Allegheny River, the Pirates erected a sign on the right-field wall to track how many home runs the Bucs would hit into the river on the fly. Twelve years later: 1. After the Pirates (35-22) missed chances to score all weekend long, Garrett Jones left. No doubt. Jones ripped a slider from Cincinnati Reds’ set-up man Jonathan Broxton inside and above the right-field...

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Links: Are the Pirates For Real?

Every year it seems like there’s one surprise team that everyone starts talking about early in the season. The Pirates have been a surprise team in each of the previous two years, but I don’t recall the discussion starting this early (probably because they broke out in June 2011, and had a historically bad offense this time of the year last year). In the last few days there have been a few articles that have gone up...

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First Pitch: Are Jeanmar Gomez and Jeff Locke a Product of a Successful System?

Last night I finished my article about Jeanmar Gomez with a thought — should there be a debate between Jeanmar Gomez and Jeff Locke for the final rotation spot when Charlie Morton returns? On one side you’ve got Locke, who has a 2.45 ERA in 58.2 innings, but has a 4.30 xFIP. Locke is due for a regression mostly due to a low BABIP (.224) and a high strand rate (84.1%). The league averages are usually .290-.300 and 70%. On...

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Pirates Notebook: Hurdle Not Too Worried About Reliever Innings

The performance of the bullpen has played a role in the the Pirates’ winning ways, especially given the many close games they have won. Pittsburgh’s relievers are ranked 2nd in the National League in ERA, 3rd in strikeout percentage and 4th in FIP. That success has not come without a cost, though, or at least a mortgage. Mark Melancon (0.96 ERA, 1.74 FIP) has pitched the 10th-most innings in the NL, while Justin Wilson...

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