Pirates Jeff Locke Taking Advantage of Internship With A.J. Burnett

The connection between Pittsburgh Pirates veteran A.J. Burnett and Jeff Locke has been visible all season long. Wherever Burnett is, Locke isn’t too far behind.

It’s also true in the stats.  Burnett is showing the southpaw how it’s done in the bigs by going out and working seven innings in each of his last five starts.  Locke has done quite well with the internship, nearly matching the effectiveness of Burnett.

Of course, it’s also been quite apparent that the Bucs offense hasn’t done its’ job to support their ace. While A.J. has given up just about two-and-a-half runs in his last five starts, the third-place Pirates have been able to scratch out just one run in three of his past four starts.

Jeff Locke has been watching the boss and then firing up some nice numbers in his starts too. Locke’s work has been damn impressive. Here are his last ten starts for the 32-20 Bucs.   In six of those starts he has given up just three hits or less.  The walk numbers are being reduced and replaced with strikeouts which is a great sign for the lefty.

In his last seven starts, Locke has posted a 1.04 ERA.

In his last ten starts, Burnett has pitched 64.1 innings and given up just 43 hits and only 17 earned runs.

The Bucs ace has 75 punchouts in those ten starts with 24 walks. His record over those impressive starts? Three wins. Four losses.

In other words, don’t pay much attention to Burnett’s win loss record.

The strikeouts have kept pace throughout the season and Burnett leads Matt Harvey by one for the National League lead in strikeouts.  Burnett has 85 punchouts while Harvey has 84.  Yu Darvish holds the ML lead in strikeouts with 105.

Looking at Burnett’s career against the Tigers, he has pitched poorly and has been awarded with six wins and two losses. It all makes sense right? Burnett is 6-2, winning five of the last six, against Detroit in ten career starts and has a gaudy 5.27 ERA.

When Burnett takes the bump tonight at PNC Park, it’s hard to predict if the right-hander can keep the powerful Tigers lineup at bay.  But one thing is certain.

Locke will be watching.

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