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View Full Version : Are Pirates for real? Absolutely!



Kingspoint
06-02-2011, 04:06 AM
They already have as many road wins (17) as they had all of last season.

Good Pitching and timely hitting wins road games and the Pirates are getting good pitching and timely hitting on the road. Their 9-14 home record is the only thing preventing them from being in 2nd Place in the Division. With school about to get out and June and the sunshine arriving together, attendance should increase dramatically in Pittsburgh and help them to win some of those home games. They have the League's Pitching Leader in Wins in Correia with eight. Paul Maholm and Charlie Morton are pitching great. Just ask the REDS. Like the REDS, they have seven blown saves, so they could use some better relief pitching (though they have 14 converted save opportunities versus the REDS' second-worst-in-the-NL 10). Pirates' Relief Pitchers allow 34% of inherited runners to score, as do the REDS. Only the Nationals (37%) and the Astros (38%) are worse. One of Cincinnati's problems though is that their Starting Pitching is so young and injured. They can't go deep into games, putting a huge stress on the Relief Corps. At 5.6 IP per start, only the Cubs (5.4) are worse than the REDS, while Pittsburgh is at the League average of 6.0. Pittsburgh has to win with their pitching. Their hitting is nearly the worst in the league. Their OPS of .664 is only worse than the Padres. Cincinnati's .739 is bettered only by the Cardinals phenomenal .780. Cincinnati can outslug you. The Pirates can't. They have to get timely hitting, ala the Seattle Mariners, all season long.

In the end, the Pirates are going to have a huge say as to who's going to win the National League Central title this season.

They're 5-1 vs the REDS with 9 to play.
They're 2-1 vs the Cardinals with 13 to play.
They're 0-5 vs the Brewers with 10 to play.

lonewolf371
06-02-2011, 05:30 AM
Oddly enough, I like their offense down the stretch more than their pitching. Their pitching has simply been a mirage this year. None of Maholm, Morton, or Correia has the talent to maintain their ERA over the rest of the season. You'll see some normalizing in the upcoming months.

signalhome
06-02-2011, 09:19 AM
Oddly enough, I like their offense down the stretch more than their pitching. Their pitching has simply been a mirage this year. None of Maholm, Morton, or Correia has the talent to maintain their ERA over the rest of the season. You'll see some normalizing in the upcoming months.

Spot on. 10th in the NL in FIP and xFIP, so I'm pretty skeptical that they'll remain a top 5 team in ERA (especially considering they're sporting the second-worst K/9 in the NL, at a blistering 6.54). Their team wOBA is only .300 -- that's tied for 13th in the NL. On the plus side, they are 3rd in UZR/150. Sorry, I just don't see this team really being all that good. They have looked good against the Reds, sure, but you can't judge a team by how they perform in six games.

Vottomatic
06-02-2011, 01:26 PM
Oddly enough, I like their offense down the stretch more than their pitching. Their pitching has simply been a mirage this year. None of Maholm, Morton, or Correia has the talent to maintain their ERA over the rest of the season. You'll see some normalizing in the upcoming months.

You may be right.......BUT........

Morton changed his delivery and is a completely different pitcher. He's also 27 years old, in his 4th major league season, and probably just now coming into his own.

Correia is in his 9th season in the majors and has 4 previous seasons with an e.r.a. under 4.00. He's never finished with a WHIP under 1.23 before and it's currently at a best 1.20, when he typically is has a WHIP in the 1.40 range. He's keeping his walks allowed down to a minimum which is helping him.

Maholm posted a season ending WHIP of 1.56 in '10 and 1.44 in '09, and it currently sits at 1.17, so he is doing something right at 28 years old in his 7th major league season.

Definitely an emphasis on not walking batters over there.

Moosie52
06-02-2011, 01:55 PM
They already have as many road wins (17) as they had all of last season.

Only 50 more road losses to match last season! :laugh:
Seriously, the Pirates have muy bueno on the road.

mlh1981
06-02-2011, 03:02 PM
Noone in this division is elite, so it's unlikely there will be a runaway winner. They can hang around, as I think the Cubs and Astros are junk. With that said, it's hard to imagine their starters maintaining this level of play. Also, they haven't made the majority of their west coast stops yet.

lonewolf371
06-02-2011, 03:42 PM
You may be right.......BUT........

Morton changed his delivery and is a completely different pitcher. He's also 27 years old, in his 4th major league season, and probably just now coming into his own.

Correia is in his 9th season in the majors and has 4 previous seasons with an e.r.a. under 4.00. He's never finished with a WHIP under 1.23 before and it's currently at a best 1.20, when he typically is has a WHIP in the 1.40 range. He's keeping his walks allowed down to a minimum which is helping him.

Maholm posted a season ending WHIP of 1.56 in '10 and 1.44 in '09, and it currently sits at 1.17, so he is doing something right at 28 years old in his 7th major league season.

Definitely an emphasis on not walking batters over there.
Maholm strikes out 6.11 per nine, which is respectable. Morton strikes out 4.90 per nine. Correia strikes out 3.99 per nine. I don't care how many ground balls you get, when the ball goes into play that much you're not going to keep your ERA below 4 and probably not below 4.5 either over the course of a season.

Kingspoint
06-02-2011, 04:11 PM
Another blown lead for the Pirates today. After leading 7-0 after 2-1/2, it's now 7-7 in the 7th. Going for their 18th Road Win today. To put that in perspective, the Brewers have only 9 Road Wins.

lonewolf371
06-02-2011, 04:30 PM
Another blown lead for the Pirates today. After leading 7-0 after 2-1/2, it's now 7-7 in the 7th. Going for their 18th Road Win today. To put that in perspective, the Brewers have only 9 Road Wins.
And those runs given up by none other than Mr. Paul Maholm. He struck out two in 5.2 innings, also walking two. Only difference today from the rest of the year is that 8 balls found gaps or the outfield seats whereas previously only 4 would do so.

Kingspoint
06-02-2011, 04:41 PM
And those runs given up by none other than Mr. Paul Maholm. He struck out two in 5.2 innings, also walking two. Only difference today from the rest of the year is that 8 balls found gaps or the outfield seats whereas previously only 4 would do so.

Again, trying to use the term "luck" when you can't understand how to explain something. The Mets' hitters are rallying. It's called emotion and adrenaline, not "luck".

Kingspoint
06-02-2011, 05:11 PM
And, the Pirates blow another lead and lose....this time, 9-8.

signalhome
06-02-2011, 05:21 PM
Again, trying to use the term "luck" when you can't understand how to explain something. The Mets' hitters are rallying. It's called emotion and adrenaline, not "luck".

I don't see how his low BABIP/high LD% can be explained by anything other than luck. He is giving up line drives at a 19.6% rate, so his BABIP should be somewhere north of .300. Instead, it's sitting at .256. That's being very fortunate, nothing more. It's not like people aren't hitting the ball hard; they are. The good news for Maholm has been that those hard-hit balls are going right to defenders.

Maholm is a perfectly acceptable pitcher, but that's all he is. His career xFIP- is 99, which is one tick below average (it's also 99 this year). Let's not make him out to be Greg Maddux just because he's had a pretty fortunate run this year.

I also fail to see how an adrenaline rush would necessarily lead to more runs. One of the biggest keys to being successful in baseball is being patient at the plate and waiting on your pitch (see Votto, Joey). In that sixth-inning rally today, two of the Mets that scored were walked batters; that doesn't seem to be the byproduct of emotion and adrenaline.

Still concerning adrenaline/emotion, let's look at Beltran's home run in the third. Maybe that was the product of adrenaline, with him being ramped up due to the previous two batters getting on; maybe it was the product of Maholm throwing a terrible pitch to a hitter with some power: http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/location.php-pitchSel=430904&game=gid_2011_06_02_pitmlb_nynmlb_1&batterX=32&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=3.gif

Up in the zone, easily hittable. Not surprising that Beltran hit the ball hard. If you go look at the hits given up by Maholm, you'll find that most of them were poor pitches; a couple of notable exceptions were a single by Reyes in the third (pitch was low and out of the zone) and a single by Tejada in the sixth (inside, right on his hands). If you ask me, the rallies had nothing to do with emotion or adrenaline and had everything to do with Maholm simply not making pitches.

webbbj
06-02-2011, 05:44 PM
lol at 17-64 on road

lonewolf371
06-02-2011, 08:17 PM
Again, trying to use the term "luck" when you can't understand how to explain something. The Mets' hitters are rallying. It's called emotion and adrenaline, not "luck".
All right, get this: if you don't strike out people and let the ball go into play a lot, you're going to get beat and look bad eventually. It's not like hitters are going to be continually unable to make quality contact on you the whole season. They're too good at this level.

Kingspoint
06-02-2011, 10:44 PM
It's not like hitters are going to be continually unable to make quality contact on you the whole season. Yet, that's what "intelligent" pitchers do....they make a guy hit a ball poorly, rather than try to strike him out.

lonewolf371
06-02-2011, 11:08 PM
Yet, that's what "intelligent" pitchers do....they make a guy hit a ball poorly, rather than try to strike him out.
Pitching and athletics aren't about intelligence. The best pitchers either have great stuff and strike guys out like crazy or they have great control and never walk batters unless they want to. Neither one of those describes any Pirates pitcher; they've been lucky.

signalhome
06-03-2011, 01:51 AM
Yet, that's what "intelligent" pitchers do....they make a guy hit a ball poorly, rather than try to strike him out.

Again, 19.6% LD%. Hitters have been making good contact on Maholm, they just haven't been falling for hits.

krm1580
06-03-2011, 11:46 AM
I am not sure what changed but Charlie Morton has turned into Brandon Webb. His sinker, 2-seamer, whatever you want to call it has pretty filthy dive to it and hitters keep beating it into the ground.

The result is guys are hitting .252 off him but only slugging .315. He has only given up 2HRs, and a total of 12XBH all season. Combine that with the fact he is only walking 1 guy per 9 and the only way you are going to consistently score off him is to string 3 or more hits together in an inning and hope you don't bounce into any double plays.

As long as his two seamer stays like it is and he does not walk anyone, I don't see any reason why he can't maintain this all season.

The really interesting thing to me is the Pirates infield D is not that great. I would be curious what his numbers would look like if he had Rolen, Janish, Philips and Votto behind him.

texasdave
06-03-2011, 12:10 PM
If fifth or possibly sixth in the NL Central at the end of the year is for real. Then, yes, they are for real.

signalhome
06-03-2011, 12:11 PM
Combine that with the fact he is only walking 1 guy per 9 and the only way you are going to consistently score off him is to string 3 or more hits together in an inning and hope you don't bounce into any double plays.

Morton is actually walking 3.84 batters per nine innings, which is a bit below average (he's also sporting a K/9 of only 4.90). If he were indeed walking only one batter per nine innings -- a truly elite rate, on par with Maddux -- then I would fully believe in Morton's ability to keep his ERA under 3.00, even with his poor K/9. As it is, however, I think he'll end up just a bit under his updated ZiPS of 3.96. It isn't as if hitters aren't hitting the ball hard; He's giving up line drives at a 19.2% rate. He's also been fortunate on the infield hits, as his IFH% is sitting at 3.0%, which is well below-average and unlikely to remain that low.

His strand rate is also pretty high and will undoubtedly take a turn south. The only guys who can consistently maintain a LOB% of over 77% are, unsurprisingly, guys who strike out a lot of batters; Morton is certainly not someone who is going to rack up strikeouts, so I don't believe he will finish with the 79% he currently has.

If he keeps his GB% north of 60%, then he will probably end up with an ERA right around 3.60 or so by season's end, but a 17% spike in GB% (46% last year, 63% this year) seems pretty unreliable for a 27-year-old pitcher. Who knows, though. Cliff Lee became elite by cutting his BB/9 in half at age 30, so maybe Morton can similarly maintain a much higher GB%, however unlikely (note: simply raising his GB% to 63% would not make Morton elite on par with Lee, as he has too many other issues).

krm1580
06-03-2011, 03:44 PM
Morton is actually walking 3.84 batters per nine innings, which is a bit below average (he's also sporting a K/9 of only 4.90). If he were indeed walking only one batter per nine innings -- a truly elite rate, on par with Maddux -- then I would fully believe in Morton's ability to keep his ERA under 3.00, even with his poor K/9. As it is, however, I think he'll end up just a bit under his updated ZiPS of 3.96. It isn't as if hitters aren't hitting the ball hard; He's giving up line drives at a 19.2% rate. He's also been fortunate on the infield hits, as his IFH% is sitting at 3.0%, which is well below-average and unlikely to remain that low.

His strand rate is also pretty high and will undoubtedly take a turn south. The only guys who can consistently maintain a LOB% of over 77% are, unsurprisingly, guys who strike out a lot of batters; Morton is certainly not someone who is going to rack up strikeouts, so I don't believe he will finish with the 79% he currently has.

If he keeps his GB% north of 60%, then he will probably end up with an ERA right around 3.60 or so by season's end, but a 17% spike in GB% (46% last year, 63% this year) seems pretty unreliable for a 27-year-old pitcher. Who knows, though. Cliff Lee became elite by cutting his BB/9 in half at age 30, so maybe Morton can similarly maintain a much higher GB%, however unlikely (note: simply raising his GB% to 63% would not make Morton elite on par with Lee, as he has too many other issues).

My mistake on the BB%. I was looking at the wrong number. Based on that you are probably right on 3.60 by the end of the season. I would take it though. Right now none of the guys in our rotation otehr than Cueto are within 1.5 runs of that.

lonewolf371
06-03-2011, 04:04 PM
Morton is actually walking 3.84 batters per nine innings, which is a bit below average (he's also sporting a K/9 of only 4.90). If he were indeed walking only one batter per nine innings -- a truly elite rate, on par with Maddux -- then I would fully believe in Morton's ability to keep his ERA under 3.00, even with his poor K/9. As it is, however, I think he'll end up just a bit under his updated ZiPS of 3.96. It isn't as if hitters aren't hitting the ball hard; He's giving up line drives at a 19.2% rate. He's also been fortunate on the infield hits, as his IFH% is sitting at 3.0%, which is well below-average and unlikely to remain that low.

His strand rate is also pretty high and will undoubtedly take a turn south. The only guys who can consistently maintain a LOB% of over 77% are, unsurprisingly, guys who strike out a lot of batters; Morton is certainly not someone who is going to rack up strikeouts, so I don't believe he will finish with the 79% he currently has.

If he keeps his GB% north of 60%, then he will probably end up with an ERA right around 3.60 or so by season's end, but a 17% spike in GB% (46% last year, 63% this year) seems pretty unreliable for a 27-year-old pitcher. Who knows, though. Cliff Lee became elite by cutting his BB/9 in half at age 30, so maybe Morton can similarly maintain a much higher GB%, however unlikely (note: simply raising his GB% to 63% would not make Morton elite on par with Lee, as he has too many other issues).
Ground ball rates have stabilized by now. It's legit.

Kingspoint
06-06-2011, 12:03 AM
Morton just went to 6-2 by holding the Phillies two 2 runs over seven innings on Saturday, while the Pirates took two of three from them.

Maker_84
06-06-2011, 12:09 AM
I'd have to say the Pirates are a better team than us right now

texasdave
06-06-2011, 12:17 AM
I'd have to say the Pirates are a better team than us right now

Okay let's not get crazy here.

SABID
06-06-2011, 12:12 PM
I hate to say anything good about one of the Cubs farm teams, even though I have a lot of respect for the Cubs, but yes the Pirates are for real this year.





Posted via iphone from the produce aisle at Dierbergs.

Kingspoint
06-06-2011, 05:08 PM
And the Pirates are about to draft #1 overall, Gerrit Cole.

The 2011 MLB Amateur Draft kicks off at 7 p.m. ET on Monday, and all signs point to Cole being the No. 1 overall pick. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound right-hander from UCLA throws a high-90s fastball that has occasionally been clocked in the triple digits. He also has a developing slider and changeup. Cole, 20, projects as a front-line major league starter and could move quickly through the Bucs' minor league system.

It's nice having the Pirates be in contention in the NL Central. Anything that makes it more difficult for the Cardinals is a good thing to me.

Kingspoint
06-08-2011, 12:03 AM
Larry Dobrow on the Pirates today (from his "Power Rankings"):

16th... (Reds 18th) They've watched two kids develop into franchise cornerstones. They've seen their closer develop into a legit asset and their historically awful starter develop into a low-balling miracle of mechanical adjustment. They've already won as many games on the road as they did last season. If the 2011 MLB season were a card game, I'd urge the Pirates to load the chips into their fanny pack and walk away from the table.

http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/story/15208758/power-rankings-draft-is-a-crapshoot-while-the-cubs-are-just-lousy

Old NDN
06-08-2011, 08:37 AM
Same question fans were asking about the Reds last year. While the Pirates' defense is not as strong, I think they will hang around for the long haul.

jwmann2
06-08-2011, 10:50 PM
So we are bashing our own team, the Reds who are ahead of the Pirates in the division, but then we turn around and talk about how well the Pirates are doing? Who cares? lol. That city is pitiful in that they only support their successful football team and ditch the Pirates for the Phillies.

mlh1981
06-09-2011, 10:24 AM
So we are bashing our own team, the Reds who are ahead of the Pirates in the division, but then we turn around and talk about how well the Pirates are doing? Who cares? lol. That city is pitiful in that they only support their successful football team and ditch the Pirates for the Phillies.

I was visiting some family in Pittsburgh this past weekend and went to the Pirates vs. Phillies game last Friday.

Out of the 33k or so in the stands at PNC Park, I'd estimate that 20k were Phillies fans. It was pretty wild. I'm sure ALL those Phillies fans made the trip from Philadelphia :rolleyes: :laugh:

Kingspoint
06-10-2011, 08:12 PM
Pitching and athletics aren't about intelligence. The best pitchers either have great stuff and strike guys out like crazy or they have great control and never walk batters unless they want to. Neither one of those describes any Pirates pitcher; they've been lucky.

To be successful as a pitcher at the Major League level, you have to be intelligent on the mound. You don't have to be intelligent in life, but you do have to be on the mound. You'll be more successful if you are intelligent on the mound with average stuff, than having great stuff and average intelligence on the mound. It always has been and always will be about: Setting up the Batter if you're the pitcher, and Setting up the Pitcher if you're the batter.

What doesn't work is: "Below Average intelligence on the mound with great stuff" or "Great intelligence on the mound with below average stuff".

Kingspoint
06-10-2011, 08:14 PM
So we are bashing our own team, the Reds who are ahead of the Pirates in the division, but then we turn around and talk about how well the Pirates are doing? Who cares? lol. That city is pitiful in that they only support their successful football team and ditch the Pirates for the Phillies.

The Sun Deck (and Old Red Guard) is full of threads bashing the REDS, but this isn't one of them. At least try to read the thread before posting a negative comment about it.

lonewolf371
06-10-2011, 08:44 PM
To be successful as a pitcher at the Major League level, you have to be intelligent on the mound. You don't have to be intelligent in life, but you do have to be on the mound. You'll be more successful if you are intelligent on the mound with average stuff, than having great stuff and average intelligence on the mound. It always has been and always will be about: Setting up the Batter if you're the pitcher, and Setting up the Pitcher if you're the batter.

What doesn't work is: "Below Average intelligence on the mound with great stuff" or "Great intelligence on the mound with below average stuff".
You don't need that either if your catcher knows how to call a game.

Kingspoint
06-10-2011, 08:52 PM
You don't need that either if your catcher knows how to call a game.

Agree, but it's rare that Catchers call games at any level any more. Even when a Catcher calls a pitch, it's the pitcher who needs to remember every pitch he's threw that batter in the past in order to recall "exactly" where to throw it and where not to throw it. No catcher has access to all of that knowledge.

lonewolf371
06-10-2011, 10:42 PM
Agree, but it's rare that Catchers call games at any level any more. Even when a Catcher calls a pitch, it's the pitcher who needs to remember every pitch he's threw that batter in the past in order to recall "exactly" where to throw it and where not to throw it. No catcher has access to all of that knowledge.
Catchers still call games, but I agree that the pitcher needs to know when it's a bad pitch at least and call it off.