Unless Changes Made Pittsburgh Pirates Bubble Bound To Burst


The Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen rescued the Bucs once again.

Surely you know the numbers by know.  Walks are bad.  High strand rates are not sustainable.  Leadoff walks are bad.  Playing with matches is frowned upon by the bear in the commercial.  But somehow, the Pirates have been able to avoid any damage –  despite leading the league in walks allowed.

So, how much longer is this going to happen during Pittsburgh Pirates games?  You know the scenario: another lackluster outing by The Jonathan Sanchez Experiment yesterday at PNC Park.

Sanchez threw just three innings yesterday and allowed four hits, two runs, three walks, but somehow had good enough stuff to strike out five Atlanta Braves.  It took the southpaw 74 pitches to get nine outs.  After the game, Clint Hurdle didn’t exactly sound thrilled.

It might have been all right if his first two outings weren’t so damnably awful.  It doesn’t appear that Sanchez is anywhere close to being capable of being a starter in the bigs at this moment.  Against the Diamondbacks on April 10, Sanchez got ten outs, but gave up nine runs – including two bombs – while striking out just two in his 93 pitches.

So, does this mean Sanchez is getting better?  Nah.  In his first start, Sanchez went five innings pitched and gave up six hits and three runs against the L.A. Dodgers.  So, Sanchez hasn’t exactly had a cakewalk schedule, but is there anything that shows you Sanchez is going to battle through these struggles, no matter who he is facing?

We can’t see that happening anytime soon.

Although…  (think deeply here)  those five strikeouts by Sanchez were fun to watch today, weren’t they?  Especially when he absolutely had to,  Sanchez whiffed Upton.

The success of the Bucs’ bullpen has been well documented, but unless the Pirates can address the large percentage of base on balls issued to the bad guys, this won’t last long.    The Pirates bullpen leads the league in walks, the starters are tied for second worst, so there is plenty of blame to toss around on this subject.

Did you notice how many times the Braves walked Sunday?  The Tomahawk Choppers got seven.  Three from Sanchez.  Two from Jeanmar Gomez.  One each from Justin Wilson and Jason Grilli.

So, unless the walks are curtailed, dancing through landmines will surely end very badly very soon for the Pirates pitching staff.   The Bucs relievers will certainly become more hittable and move from the top five of fewest hits allowed, even though they are also in the top ten in strikeouts.

It would be nice if a happy medium could be found.  But heh….sure, this game all worked out just great in the end.    Some of you might say the Bucs have ten wins already, you jackass.  It’s fun watching The Shark Tank come to the rescue again.  You’re right.  Enjoy the hell out of it.

While it lasts.