Joe Kerrigan is not a self promoter I am told. I buy that statement. I wonder what he thought when he began to watch tape on the Pirates staff when he took the job, the worst in the National League. I have a feeling his face was not pretty. In fact Kerrigan is not much to look at, he could easily sport the tshirt with the famous line, they didnt hire me for my disposition.
Kerrigan looks like a mean SOB. The kind of guy that bags rattlesnakes on the weekend for sheer fun.
In fact, its very hard to imagine he was a broadcaster last year with the Phillies. Just doesn’t look very Greg Brown – esque to me. But hell, the Phillies did alright last year too. I am sure Kerrigan had as he likes to say..”a plan, a discipline and a structure” for that line of work as well.
I was on the receiving end of the glare when I was snapping pictures a little to close at Spring Training. It was kinda cool. I am just glad the guy that helped Pedro win a couple of Cy Young Awards didn’t have a ball in his hand. He would have probably drilled me.
He is a hard working man. I saw it in action. I am sure you heard about the ”dummies” he placed in the batter box to have the pitching staff work more inside. Now I love the sound of that sentence. Pitching inside. That is great stuff.
We were able to watch him working hard with Tom Gorzelany before his start against the Braves last week. Kerrigan was standing in the batter box himself (dummies not required) before the game. He was working on situational pitching. “No balls, two strikes! No balls, one strike,” he shouted.
He also places a four inch mat on the plate (look at the pic above and you can see it.) He keeps a counter in his hand as the pitcher works. Always maintaining his ”plan.”
“The pitchers are focusing on making every pitch count, each one must have a purpose,” said Neal Huntington on Sunday. “On the other hand hitters have the luxury of taking countless swings in BP.”
I firmly believe a strong performance by our pitching staff can allow us to turn heads this season. But heh, Kerrigan is not a magician. He has said he has failed with players, he hasn’t been able to wave a magic wand on all of his pitchers in the past. But he was very successful with numerous teams and his pitching staff lead MLB in lowest ERA several years.
He has a very focused plan and the players are buying in to the plan. Ian Snell described Kerrigan’s approach as, ” this is stuff that we’ve never, ever done before here. He’s brought something new. It’s very good. I mean, it’s working.”
The players play, the coaches coach. This coach just seems to do a much better job at coaching.
The numbers are proving that the method is working. Another solid effort was shown today by the staff against the Minnesota Twins. It is interesting to see how many of the young arms have been rock solid. Not only are they not being hit hard, they are pitching with control for the most part.
Sure, the Pirates have had our share of SIGNIFICANT pitching failures during the buy one Tommy John surgery, get the second free era. I say if the Pirates can get Kerrigan some talent, and the talent listens to Kerrigan, those days of failure could be gone. That’ a big if.