The Pittsburgh Pirates keep sending Wandy Rodriguez back to the mound. The return of Wandy Rodriguez means big things for the Bucs hopes in 2014. The lefty goes again tonight against the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers. Buccos fans will collectively hold their breath, praying that Rodriguez doesn’t feel any arm pain–you know it’s a popular feeling around Major League Baseball these days.
Of course, another injury to Wandy Rodriguez would be devastating. It’s only meaningless spring training but Wandy looks the Wandy of old. You know getting ground balls instead of strikeouts, and always punching out the opposing pitcher when he steps in the box–he leads the world in that stat I think.
The southpaw is an expensive, well in Pirates terms, pitcher who was acquired from Houston. It was an under the radar move by Neal Huntington–much like Rodriguez’s pitches. The team missed his contributions last season, but his absence did allow the team to see what else they had in terms of starting pitching.
Wandy is a free agent at the end of this season. Just how much is left in his tank is a big question. When he did pitch last year, he was serviceable in his 12 starts, except for that start against the Braves when his ERA got blown up. A solid season, could get him another payday.
For whatever reason, Rodriguez always stresses us out. We thought he fastball was fading, but when we stared at Fangraphs velocity charts long enough, it all comes back to the fact that about 89.5 is what the lefty has done for the past four years. His fastball has been 89 point something in 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010. Back in 2009 it was 90.2. [Fangraphs.com]
We looked and looked and the more we stared, the more we came to the conclusion that if Wandy is healthy, the Pirates will get a solid back end starter in 2013. Now hold your breath, light a candle, say a prayer, whatever it is do it.
Rodriguez pitched against Toronto minor leaguers last time out. He struck out one over three innings allowing two hits and no walks.
Jake Peavy will pitch for the Red Sox tonight. The game will be on ROOT Sports.
The Red Sox played the Yankees yesterday and Deadspin had a great headline: