Pirates Notebook: Correia’s Luck is Running Out

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A day after right-hander Brad Lincoln struggled in his third spot start of the season, the Pirates saw another rough outing from a starter in Kevin Correia. While the starting staff has been very solid this season, Correia, the club’s fifth starter, has posted an ERA over 5.00 since the end of April. And what’s most concerning is that he’s been extremely lucky while on the mound.

Take a look at his BABIP (batting average on balls in play). Entering game action, Correia had a .239 BABIP. A normal starter is usually around .300, which is a red flag indicating that he won’t be able to maintain the luck he is having. During last season, Correia had a .292 BABIP, and finished with a 4.79 ERA. He’s also posted a very high strand rate at 76.2 %. Last season he finished at 69.1 %. Not only is allowing a lot of hits, he’s stranding them at a very high rate. Neither is sustainable for the remainder of the season.

On Wednesday in Baltimore, Correia struggled against the Orioles tough lineup. Overall, Correia allowed five runs (four earned) on 10 hits over 6.0 innings. He walked one and struck out one while throwing 94 pitches, 55 strikes.

Correia allowed at least a run in four of his sixth frames, and was able to escape several jams without further damage.

After retiring his first batter to start the bottom of the 1st, J.J. Hardy singled into center field. He quickly scored after the next batter Chris Davis launched a RBI double off the wall in left field. A huge double play allowed Correia to escape the jam.

Baltimore’s bats plated two runs in the 2nd after they connected for three consecutive hits to start the frame. Wilson Betemit’s was an extra base RBI knock, while former Bucco Steve Pearce laced the third hit for a RBI single. Correia retired his next two batters, and once again luck was on his side. Hardy hit a grounder to Pedro Alvarez at third, who bobbled the ball for what would have been an error, but Pearce was far off the bag at second and was thrown out to end the inning.

The O’s tacked on a fourth run off Correia in the fourth after Mark Reynolds lined a double to left field — the third extra base hit Correia allowed — to start the fourth inning. Alex Presley’s miscue in the outfield allowed Reynolds to advance to third on the error. Betemit hit a sac fly to right field to plate the fourth run off the right-hander.

His fifth and final run came in the fifth. Betemit crushed a 1-1 curveball for Correia’s third homer allowed over his last two starts, giving him 11 total over his last seven starts. The O’s followed with back-to-back knocks but Correia was able to leave them stranded.

Since April, when he posted just a 2.42 ERA over four starts, Correia has a 5.58 ERA and the Bucs have lost five of those eight games.

Corriea said to the Trib after the game on his outing overall, “I was kind of happy with the way I threw the ball. I gave up too many runs, I guess.”


Arrieta Holds Bucs to One 

Right-hander Jake Arrieta has struggled for the Orioles this season. In fact, after Arrieta’s last start against the Phillies, where he allowed nine earned runs on 11 hits over 4.0 innings, Baltimore moved him to the bullpen. His stay in relief didn’t last as tonight’s originally scheduled starter lefty Brian Matusz was hit in the nose with a batting practice bunt. Arrieta was called upon as the emergency starter and tossed seven innings.

The Pirates were only able to score one run off Arrieta in the 7-1 loss. Jose Tabata led off the bottom of the 7th with an infield single. With one out, Michael McKenry was hit by a pitch and Alex Presley followed with a base knock to load the bases. Neil Walker hit a grounder at first to drive in the lone run.

Arrieta struck out a career-high nine batters and dropped his ERA below 6.00 on the season after posting an 6.32 before game action.

The Pirates lost back-to-back games for the first time since May 22-23 against the New York Mets at PNC Park.


Hughes Having Impressive Rookie Season 

The Pirates bullpen has been very good shutting down late innings for the club. They entered game action with the second-best bullpen ERA (2.49) in the Major Leagues. The only team with a better bullpen ERA is Baltimore (2.42). Lefty Tony Watson allowed two runs from the long ball on Wednesday, but Joel Hanrahan followed with a scoreless outing.

The player with arguably the most surprising season from the ‘pen has been rookie Jared Hughes. The right-hander tossed 2.1 scoreless frames on Saturday night and was credited with the win – his second in the big leagues. Since being recalled from Triple-A (for the second time) on May 1, Hughes has been charged with four earned runs in 20.2 innings (1.74 ERA) and has been scored upon once in his last 18.2 innings.

“We’ve got a good defense so I just [go] out there, kept the ball down, try to get ground balls and let the defense work for me,” Hughes said. “We’ve got a lot of competitive guys out there. All of us, we stick to our strengths. We’ve got [Jason] Grilli, who’s throwing the heck out of the ball and that’s super competitive. And then Hanrahan finishes it. A lot of experience, and [Juan] Cruz has been around.”

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Ian Rothermund

Omg yes! Free Rudy Owens. It’s starting to look like he’ll need to throw 3 consecutive no-hitters just to be considered.

Richard Ya'Zhynka

Correia’s 5.59 FIP tells his story far better than does his 4.43 ERA. The horse shoe has been turned upside down. If Karstens isn’t ready, then it is time to promote Locke or Owens.

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