Maholm Rises Gorzelanny Falls


Heading into last year, Tom Gorzelanny was the number one starter.  Paul Maholm needed to rebound.  What a turn of events a year makes.  It’s been a fall from ace for Gorzelanny and a climb to ace for Maholm. 

Take a really close look at the pitching stats for the 2007 version of Gorzelanny when compared to the 2008 season for Maholm.  Mystifying .

2007 Gorzy     14-10    3.88 ERA  201IP  214H  11HBP  68BB  135K

2008 Maholm    9-9      3.71ERA   206IP  201H   9HBP  63BB  139K

2007 Maholm 10-15  5.02ERA   177IP  204H  6HBP  49 BB  105K

2008 Gorzy        6-9    6.66ERA    105IP  120H  1HBP  70BB     67K

Sometimes it just doesn’t work. It could be an issue with confidence. Could be success. Could be a lot of things. Today, Gorzelanny needed to look in the mirror and accept the fact that he wasn’t getting it done.

Gorzelanny failed to provide his employer with enough evidence that he had improved from his poor season last year.  He came to spring training 20 pounds lighter.  Not sure that means much as I am not a big fan of ball players being fitness geeks.  I would rather have the comfortable, yeh, maybe a little heavy, 2007 version that was on the verge of being a stud pitcher when he was 15th in the NL in ERA.

Who is the Tom Gorzelanny that takes the mound now?  A fitness freak that looks great, but lost velocity, lost bite on the breaking ball, and still struggles with command of his change.

I remember talking to John Daly ( I know, I know not the best correlation) and he told me this before the 2004 84 Lumber Classic, “I lost 40 pounds, was eating right, working out a little bit and I played the worst golf in my life.  Screw that.”   But apparently he forgot the conversation, as Daly is losing weight once again as reported by Shane Beacon Monday in

Did anyone see Yankee left hander CC last night?  He doesn’t look like he is going to teach a yoga class anytime soon.  Please don’t misunderstand, no team wants players that are world champion hot dog eaters, but if a pitcher is comfortable why mess with success?

I am just plain missing something.  I don’t have all the information to comprehend what in the world happened with Gorzelanny.

Maybe he did put on too much weight on last year.  Did the 201 innings pitched in 2007 hurt him? Maybe the success went to his head?  Whatever happened it has left many fans scratching their heads.  Even his pitching coach through the minors Jeff Andrews couldn’t help him.

This Spring the new lean and mean (well I guess he was happy and cheerful too from what I read) Gorzelanny produced the following during his four starts:

Atlanta-2IP OH OR OER 2BB 0K

Minnesota-2IP 1H 1R 1ER 2BB 1K

Boston-2IP 2H 5R 4ER 1BB 2K

Tampa Bay 3IP 5H 2R 2ER 0BB 1K

Give me the mean, slightly overweight 2007 Gorzelanny back.  I could care less that he didn’t always act kindly toward the media.  So what if he wasn’t always a nice guy with his teamates (maybe he doesn’t like losing?)  He is paid to get batters out.  We want the pitcher back. This smiling, slim, former shell in the smaller size jersey isn’t working.

Apparently from the information provided from the Pirates and Neil Huntington, Gorzelanny doesn’t understand the move.  Huntington said, “We can only operate off of what we saw a year ago, what we’ve seen thus far this spring. We’ve not seen a guy attack the strike zone. We’ve not seen a guy command his fastball, and that’s why the move — as difficult as it is — the move is to try to get him back to a position where he can command his fastball. His delivery has been very inconsistent, last year and this year.

“We need him to get that delivery consistent because that’s going to allow him to command his fastball, it’s going to allow his breaking ball to have more tilt, more plane. Right now, it’s kind of flat and sweepy. The changeup just doesn’t have the deception and fade it had a year ago. The delivery’s affecting the quality of the pitches. The velocity’s down a little bit, but there’s no easy explanation for why he was so good two years ago and why he struggled last year and carried it into this Spring Training a little bit.”

Having Maholm and Gorzelanny as those two solid 1-2 starting pitchers means an entirely different club this year.  Well we know that it’s not going to happen in April.

It could never happen.

He is out of minor league options so the clock is ticking and many eyes are on Gorzelanny.  The time away from the Pirates could ignite or it could continue to extinguish a once on the verge star.

I trust it lights a forest fire under his 20 pound lighter frame.

I don’t think he wants to be a minor leaguer with a future as a personal trainer.  So Tom, I am glad you were mad about going to the minors.  I trust you are sitting at Hooters right now eating some wings.

I trust you will wake up in the morning and start the protein shakes.  Let’s get some meat back on those bones.

Keep working hard, but for God sakes eat something.  And it’s ok to frown every now and again.

See you soon in Pittsburgh Tom Gorzelanny.  We have big plans.