One of the big reasons behind the resurgence of the Pittsburgh Pirates will be on the mound tonight in a sold out PNC Park. Paul Maholm has been on numerous losing Pirates teams and a sold out PNC on a Friday night in July is something Paul Maholm can’t be used to.
He’s been pitching well in front of Pirates fans all season, but his past five are off the chart. The guy loves pitching at home. The trouble is that Maholm is best known for not receiving run support from his teammates this season.
He also is well known for some very positive quotes after he pitches his left arm off and comes up short. Maholm always says the right thing.
And the last thing we think of when we talk about Paul Maholm is that before the season, most Pirates fans would have predicted that the trade buzz right now would be all about Maholm.
Have you heard anything about Maholm in the past two weeks?
The story on Maholm’s rebound season goes something like this. Maholm was shown a scouting report by Clint Hurdle in spring training. Maholm looked at the report the Texas Rangers used and wasn’t too happy about it.
Yeh, that’s an understatement. Maholm has thrown inside effectively.. hell, he has taken command on the mound. And his numbers have taken a dive.
And in less than ten days when the deadline passes, we put money down that Maholm is staying in Pittsburgh. The left-hander is in his sixth full season with the Pirates. We have to believe he would be thrilled to be on the team that snapped the streak, or better yet provided the leadership as the Pirates try to win the NL Central.
The Pirates have a $9.75 million club option on his contract in 2012, with a $750,000 buyout. If the Bucs fail to pick up the option, Maholm will be on the free agent market.
The Pirates need a left hander in the rotation. PNC Park plays to it. Hell, they should have two. Before the season started, Rudy Owens and Justin Wilson were seen as the likely replacements in the rotation.
That short term thought is gone now. Maybe next year the young guys can break in to the rotation, but not right now. Maholm is on fire when pitching at the friendly confines of PNC.
Maholm will go for his third straight win tonight at PNC Park. Maholm has a 3.06 ERA and is 6-9 on the season. He didn’t get a decision against the Astros on Saturday as he gave up three runs and nine hits in just five innings of work.
So it says here Maholm is going nowhere at the deadline. If anything, we would see the Pirates adding a left handed starter if the right deal would come along.
It sure would be smart, just look at Maholms’ production. In his past five starts he hasn’t been beaten at PNC Park. He’s nearly untouchable. He has four wins. His ERA is 0.84 ERA.
That sounds like a pitcher the Pirates need in their uniform down the stretch.