Edinson Volquez has been invincible in his past four starts.
Just when the Pittsburgh Pirates needed a stopper, Edinson Volquez has been it. A month ago, the Pirates season seemed on the brink, especially when considering the injuries to the starting pitching and one awful start that had members of the Volquez Fever Fan Club sweating their membership dues. Volquez was crushed by the Reds, giving up eight earned runs while getting just seven outs.
It was gut check time.
The Pirates needed starting pitching help. It’s exactly what Edinson Volquez has given them. And since that start on June 18, the right hander is unbeaten in his last four starts pitching 29 innings and allowing just three earned runs.
Think about that for a moment. Let it soak in…
Coming into the game against the Cardinals tonight that the Pirates desperately needed to win, Volquez had pitched well enough in his past three starts to be mentioned in the company of National League pitchers Gio Gonzalez (0.00), Clayton Kershaw (0.00), Tim Lincecum (0.39) and some Cardinals pitcher named Adam Wainwright (0.40). The amazing stat regarding Volquez is that he is 46-1 when he is given four runs by his offense.
Of all the pitchers on the Bucs pitching staff, Volquez is the one that impresses me the most. The confidence is growing and the Bucs should strongly consider giving him the ball next Friday when the Colorado Rockies stroll into PNC Park. It’s the biggest story of the Bucs first half of the season.
After the 6’0″ 220 pounder shut down the Cardinals last night, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle had this to say:
"“We have watched him grow as he is been here…….. The guys pulling for him as they did tonight. One thing in these games, when he gets past the fifth, he smells the finish. He has found his confidence.”"
Hurdle hit it on the head. The confidence has grown and now is the time for the Pirates to reward a player that many Pirates fans laughed at when he was signed this off season. A player like Volquez has worked hard to put the horrid 2013 season behind him. It’s a testament to everyone involved on the Pirates staff.
It would be easy to give the ball to Francisco Liriano as many have suggested should he pitch well this weekend. Even Jeff Locke as it makes sense to maximize left handers in PNC Park, but Locke and Liriano haven’t earned the first start after the All-Star break.