Friday, June 10, 2011

Pirates vs. Mets (Series Twenty Two)

Who is this Jeff Karstens fellow anyway? A sub 3 ERA? Whatever man, he has taken his chance and run with it. At this point he has to really struggle to lose his spot in the rotation and I would think he is a safer bet than James McDonald. Too bad the Pirates patchwork offense couldn’t score any runs. Will this team ever sweep anybody? Series wins are great, but they need a cushion for the inevitable losing streaks that happen to all teams, let alone this one. They have clawed their way back to .500 but an ill timed five or six game losing streak will make it that much more difficult to compete for a wildcard spot or the division because they are just blowing these great pitching performances.

The Pirates should have taken the series at Citi, but they squandered an early seven run lead to split with the Mets on the road. Not a bad outcome, but worse than they should have accomplished. Still the Pirates have not lost a series since being swept by the Braves in a two game set on 5/24 and 5/25.

The Pirates have already beaten the Mets more this year than last year, in which they were 1-6. This year will need a little bit more due to the fact that we play them more than seven times, but that’s two wins we didn’t get against these schmucks last year, and I call that progress.

The Mets probable starters are Dillon Gee, R.A. Dickey, Chris Capuano, and Mike Pelfrey.

Dillon Gee (25) RHP

Gee just continues to have a great season. He is now 6-0 in 11 appearances (8 starts) with and ERA of 3.33. He has been a very pleasant surprise in a Mets rotation that looked to be a compete mess. He is not overpowering, but he has been a pitcher and has struck out nearly as many batters per nine as he has given up hits per nine (6.5 and 6.7 respectively).

Gee pitched very well against the Bucs, giving up three earned runs over seven innings of five hit ball. He struck out eight Pirates in that outing, a career best for him in the majors. He also notched his fifth win of the season.

Gee has never pitched at PNC Park, but he has been a much better pitcher at home this year. He does have two wins in his four appearances (three starts) but that is despite an ERA of 6.38 (1.77 at home). His SO/BB at Citi Field is 2.40 compared to a 1.50 on the road, in fact he has walked the same amount of batters on the road this season as he has in three more games at home. Opponents line on the road isn’t really that bad, but it’s worse than at home as well, .224/.346/.343 on the road and .198/.268/.302 at home.

R.A. Dickey (36) RHP

Dickey also pitched very well against the Buccos his last time out, although he got tagged with the loss. The knuckleballer gave up three runs on five hits over 7.2 IP striking out ten batters, a career high. Oddly enough he was the second pitcher in a row to record their career high in strikeouts against the Bucs.

Dickey’s next outing was another really good one in which he threw 8.0 strong innings against the Atlanta Braves. He was able to pick up the win this time giving up just one run on a solo homer while allowing just four hits and walking one.

After his 5.1, eleven hit, six earned run performance on May 14 Dickey has been outstanding. He is 2-1 in four starts giving up just five earned runs over 24.1 IP. His ERA is 1.85, he is throwing 69% of his pitches for strikes (as a knuckler), and his opponents batting line over this stretch is .193/.260/.307. He also has twenty SO, sadly ten of those came in one game against the Pirates.

Dickey is 1-1 lifetime against the Pirates with a 3.33 ERA in four appearances (three starts). His .904 WHIP is tops for him amongst any team and his 7.8 SO/9 is fourth best amongst all teams. Dickey has just been a really solid pitcher against the Pirates and it probably has to do with the fact that they aren’t patient enough for his knuckleball. Just because you are taking pitches does not mean you are patient.

Dickey has never pitched at PNC Park. Dickey has done his best work on the road though this year, picking up 2 of his 3 wins on the road and just one of his 6 losses. His road ERA is 2.93 compared to 4.69 at home, and his SO/BB is 2.86 compared to 1.65. His WHIP is actually slightly worse on the road, 1.446 to 1.354 and his OPS of .807 is substantially worse than his .7171 at home, this has to do with BAbip, .287 at home and .333 on the road.

Chris Capuano (32) LHP

Last time out Capuano proved that he is a journeyman and not much else. He allowed five earned runs over six innings of ball, giving eight hits and walking one, while striking out just two.

Capuano just isn’t having a good season. He is 4-6 but he has an ERA of 4.86 in his 13 appearances (11 starts). He is giving up a career high 10.4 H/9 allowing 77 hits in just 66.2 innings (that’s .2 more innings than he pitched all of last year for Milwaukee). He is also giving up a career high 1.4 HR/9, already allowing ten homers. His WHIP is also pretty bad sitting at 1.440 (second worst of his career) despite the fact that his walk numbers are really good (2.6 per nine) and his strikeout numbers are basically his career average.

He is 2-2 over his last five games, giving up 30 hits in 28.1 innings. Over this stretch he has given up five of his ten homers, and has an ERA of 4.76.

Capuano has been remarkably consistent at home and on the road, mediocre at each.















The real killer on the road has been homers. He has given up seven of his ten homers on the road, that leads to a better OPS on the road for opposing hitters. The OBP is almost identical (.340 at home .341 on the road), but the SLG isn’t (.390 at home, .537 on the road).

Capuano has eight starts in nine appearances at PNC Park. He is 2-4 lifetime with an ERA of 5.36. He has given up more homers at PNC Park (8) than any other ballpark except Miller (47) and Wrigley (8), hopefully the Pirates can put PNC Park in sole possession of second place.

Mike Pelfrey (27) RHP

Mike Pelfrey should thank the baseball gods he didn’t get a loss the last time he faced the Pirates. Pelfrey had an absolutely disastrous start, giving up seven runs in just five innings, allowing ten hits including one homer. The Pirates managed to lose that game, one of the most bogus losses I’ve seen this team undertake, and one in which Paul Maholm would get plenty of run support, and not know what to do with it.

Pelfrey is proving the every other year theory correct once again. He currently has a 3-4 record with a 5.35 ERA in thirteen starts. He is yet another Mets pitcher who is giving up more than ten runs per nine innings pitched and a career high amount of homers.

Pelfrey doesn’t have a win in his last five starts (0-1) and his ERA is perilously close to five, sitting at 4.83. Opponents are hitting .262/.308/.393, a healthy line but not great. He has also been somewhat lucky, having a BAbip of .273 and pitching three of five at Citi Field, a pitchers park.

Pelfrey has been a disaster on the road this year. He has a 1-4 record with a 7.60 ERA on the road over seven starts. He has allowed an absurd 49 hits in 34.1 innings and eight of his eleven homers have come in opposing ballparks. In fact he is giving up a Ruthian line of .331/.381/.547 on the road!

Hopefully that holds true because Pelfrey hasn’t been too bad at PNC Park. He is currently 2-1 lifetime with a 4.34 ERA in three starts. His WHIP is pretty high (1.500) and he is striking out only 4.3 per nine so he certainly hasn’t dominated the Bucs, just gotten wins. In fact his line of .301/.363/.411 isn’t all that great either. A little more pop in the bats and these numbers could be a whole lot different.


vs. Gee

vs. DIckey

vs. Capuano

vs. Pelfrey

vs. Mets

Josh Harrison






Xavier Paul






Ronny Cedeno






Matt Diaz






Dusty Brown






Garrett Jones






Andrew McCutchen






Lyle Overbay






Brandon Wood






Wyatt Toregas






Jose Tabata






Neil Walker






Pedro Ciriaco






The Pirates probable pitchers are Charlie Morton, James McDonald, Kevin Correia, and Paul Maholm.

Charlie Morton (27) RHP

The 6-2 (feels good huh?) Charlie Morton will put his 2.52 ERA up against the Mets in the first game of the series at lovely PNC Park. Morton had a pretty absurd time at Citi, giving up only one earned run against the Mets over 6 IP, but allowing a whopping 11 hits in the loss (which he wasn’t charged with).

After struggling with walks Morton has now struck out more batters than he has walked in five straight games, going 3-1 over that span with an amazing 1.47 ERA. He also has not allowed a stolen base in 6 games.

Morton’s home and road splits are starting to come together, but he has been better at home, posting a 2.08 ERA and a 2-1 record. The ball just loves the dirt at PNC Park I guess because he is giving up a line of just .234/.312/.315 there.

Morton is still looking for his first win against the Mets (three appearances, two starts) but his numbers overall have been pretty good, save the 1.769 WHIP (somewhat inflated because of that eleven hits he just gave up) and the .86 SO/BB. You wouldn’t think with those numbers he would have an ERA of just 2.08 but he does!

James McDonald (26) RHP

It seemed like JMac was going to cruise through the Phillies lineup in his last outing. The curve was working, he was hitting his spots, and it just looked good for him. Then a few past balls and a complete meltdown on his part and he ended up giving up three earned runs in just 4.0 innings. He walked an absurd five batters, while striking out just three on the way to the loss, the only loss of the series. That game ended a streak of three straight quality starts, his second of the season.

That streak included a tilt against the Mets in which the Pirates would win, but he wouldn’t. He gave up just one earned run over 6.0 innings, striking out five and walking two. That outing would see him finally dip his ERA below five for the first time since his first game on April 5.

McDonald has actually been nearly as good at home as Morton, posting an ERA of just 3.14 and allowing a line of .218/.328/.307 at PNC.

McDonald also does not have a win against the Mets, going 0-1 in seven appearances (three starts) with an ERA of 3.63. He has had trouble with control against the Mets, walking 13 batters while only striking out 16. He has also given up 20 hits in 22.1 innings.

Kevin Correia (30) RHP

You would think I dislike Kevin Correia but I do not. I am still not a believer in Kevin Correia, but I want him to win every single game he pitches in. I would love to eat crow about this, but I must just be a shell shocked Pirates fan, too afraid to believe that it could be real.

Kevin Correia already has eight wins. There is nothing that can take away his performance up until this point. He has been good. He has exceeded my expectations for sure. He pitched a pretty good game last time out against the Mets, picking up one of those eight wins. He lasted six innings, and allowed just two earned runs on six hits for his third straight quality start.

His last outing was pretty bad though. He gave up four earned runs in five innings, allowing eight hits and two homers against the Diamondbacks. A game in which the Pirates would rally late to win.

Correia’s home number leave a whole lot to be desired, but I expect them to get better. He has given up an absurd 41 hits in 29.2 IP at home allowing six of his nine homers there despite pitching 23.2 less innings at PNC Park. He has just one win at home, with three losses. Correia has been our road warrior, but it’s time for him to turn it around at home.

Correia actually has some pretty decent numbers against the Mets. Despite a losing record (2-3), his ERA is a very good 2.95 in eleven appearances (five starts). He is averaging about a hit an inning, but that’s about right for him the important thing is that he has kept the WHIP (1.235) under control while giving up all those hits, in no small part to the decent 2.80 SO/BB.

Paul Maholm (28) LHP

I’m not happy that I don’t even have to look at the ages of these players anymore. I’ve done too many of these.

Maholm has been really solid this year, and I’m not one to go to bat for him (apparently the Pirates aren’t either). Everyone knows how much it sucks that he is 2-7, it blows. Still he had a great opportunity to beat the Mets in the last series and he squandered it. Letting the Mets climb back into it after an early 7-0 deficit. He allowed seven runs, six earned, over just 5.2 innings after pitching a complete game shutout in his previous game.

Maholm bounced back nicely though against the Diamondbacks and his best buddy Zach Duke. He allowed just one hit over six shutout innings striking out four but walking an uncharacteristic three. The Pirates would eventually get the win on an Andrew McCutchen walkoff jack but once against a lack of run support would cost Maholm a win in a game he pitched very well in.

It must be something with Correia because Maholm is another pitcher who has been better at home. He has a win at home and on the road, but his home ERA is 2.45, compared to his road ERA of 4.46. His WHIP is lower at home, and his SO/9 is higher. Opponents are hitting just .210 off Paul at home, compared to .236 on the road. The only problem Maholm has had at home is holding runners. He has given up three stolen bases at home, none on the road.

Maholm remains at .500 against the Mets, 3-3 in starts, due to his implosion at Citi. He has a 5.15 ERA, giving up 29 earned in 50.2 innings. Worse yet is the fact that he has allowed 64 hits over that span and his SO/BB sits at a pathetic 1.22.

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