Pirates Ray Searage: Ernesto Frieri Is Outside The Box


Jun 28, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Newly acquired Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Ernesto Frieri (29) poses for his official portrait before playing the New York Mets at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage spoke about Ernesto Frieri on 93.7 The Fan this morning.  The Bucs are doing their best to fix the demoted former Angels closer.  Searage mentioned that the right hander is ‘outside the box’ which we found interesting.   After thinking about it for a minute or two, I think Searage meant that Frieri is confused.

It sounded like the Angels tried to get him to pitch with a downhill plane and it seemed like that’s the last thing Searage wants him to do.  The Pirates want his arm slot to drop from where it was when he came over from L.A.

This picture from July 3, appears that the release point is still over the top.

Jul 3, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Ernesto Frieri (29) pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Diamondbacks won 10-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been very obvious that Frieri no longer has any deception when he releases the baseball….and oh, it’s been ugly. So the guy is outside the box, well it would be great if someone can get him inside the box–and quickly.

Searage mentioned that Frieri needs to return to his old style of pitching.  The Bucs pitching guru joked that a bald, blind guy is telling him how to become successful again and mentioned that he doesn’t want to throw anyone under the bus.  We assume that he was talking about what happened in Los Angeles and whatever genius decided to have him throw more over the top.

Frieri has been so bad that he earned Dishonorable mention from Jon Heyman in his midseaon winners, losers awards:

"Dishonorable Mention to Ernesto Frieri, whose ERA is actually worse in the NL with the Pirates than it was with the Angels (13.50 to 6.39)"

Jul 9, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Ernesto Frieri (29) throws to a St. Louis Cardinals batter during the fifth inning at Busch Stadium. Cardinals defeated the Pirates 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have had great success transforming embattled relievers.  We remember what Joel Hanrahan became.  We remember what Jason Grilli became.  We remember, and get to see nightly what Mark Melancon has become.  Hanrahan was able to work through the challenges he had with Nationals, and the Pirates could afford to allow him to pitch because the team was so pathetic.  Grilli worked his way into the closer role and was very effective for a short period of time.  Melancon didn’t need much help, just someone to believe in his stuff.

In all three cases, the experiment has paid off.  Of course, we are still waiting to see what Ernesto Frieri can become.  And our patience is wearing rather thin.  Especially because the situation is different–the Pirates are in a dog fight in the NL Central and every appearance is a big one.