It is the night before Easter and all through the “pad” a respectable outing by Wandy Rodriguez can’t be had. The game is now at the bottom of the 4th inning and the ERA of Wandy has risen from 7.31 to 8.05. It will eventually deflate to 7.65 by game’s end and Pirates reliever Jason Grilli will eventually absorb the 8-7 loss against the Milwaukee Brewers.
If I were Pirates manager Clint Hurdle I would be picking up the “red phone” in the dugout not to call a reliever in from the bullpen. I would be on the “horn” pronto calling Dean Treanor, the manager of the Indianapolis Indians, the Pirates AAA minor league affiliate.
Maybe, just maybe, ‘Skip’ Hurdle should be inquiring about what pitcher could they send up immediately or at least be getting ready to promote to Pittsburgh to relieve Rodriguez of his spot in the Pirates starting rotation.
The Pirates cannot, no should not allow Señor Rodriguez to remain as a starter much longer if he cannot provide more quality outings and lower his ERA to palatable 4.25 or less; because as I stated in a previous column; I don’t expect the Pirates to average more than 4 runs per game during this long and grueling 162 game season.
Ya know what boys’ and girls’? Before the game on Easter Sunday when this column was written; the Pirates had played 18 games and scored 78 runs, which had averaged out to be 4.333333333333333 runs per game. Don’t forget they scored than 10 runs in 2 of those games; 11 runs in a game against the Brewers and 12 runs in another game against the Cardinals; jacking up their runs scored total. The Bucs’ were also 6th in fielding pct in the NL which means there were not many unearned runs scored against them causing the negative outings of Rodriguez stand out.
I am concerned about his effectiveness early especially when he is competing against teams in the NL Central Division, Cincy, St. Louis, Milwaukee when all of those competitors are jockeying for a playoff spot because although it is early in the season, not one game, not one inning, not even one out can be taken for granted not in this offense strong, pitching rich division. Even with the bloated ERA of Rodriguez which is almost double the collective earned run average of the rest of the Pirate hurlers, the Pittsburgh pitching staff still sported a respectable 3.95 ERA.
What you talkin bout? Now that’s what I’m talking about Willis. This is Easter Sunday and quite frankly the Pirates need to get better quickly. They seem to be incapable of putting together a 10 or 12 game streak where the pitching, hitting and fielding and relief pitching are clicking collectively.
Although this is the day of the Easter Bunny, unlike 2013 the Pirates will not be pullin any rabbits out of hidden hats, sneaking up on people because folks are ready and now have studied, analyzed and figured out the trick. Pittsburgh now has to be ready to face another NL Central Division foe (Milwaukee) that was not really much of a factor in stopping the Pirates from securing a wild card berth in 2013.
Oh, by the way if the Pirates sleep the Chicago Cubs; let’s put it like this, 2014 will not be another year of the “wild card” for the Pittsburgh. This might be premature to say this early in the season but the Pirates had better be cautious and mindful of not turning a wild card possibility into a “jokers’wild.”
Last, I have to take this opportunity to apologize to the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen and the NPC readers. Toward the end of last week I was writing two articles simultaneously. The first one was on the New York Giants HOF Linebacker Lawrence Taylor and the second was being penned about Pirates MVP Andrew McCutchen. As I navigated back and forth between both articles and I inadvertently referred to Andrew McCutchen as “Lawrence”McCutchen and no one, including me “noticed” the error?
Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: email@example.com or 412.583.6741