Most consistent starter as of late?

When we wrote this on August 18th, Wandy Rodriguez had made four starts in a Pittsburgh uniform. In those four outings, he went 0-3 with a 5.47 ERA; not exactly a stellar start to his Pirates career. However, he earned his first victory as a Bucco less than 24 hours later. The W came as a reliever in the 19 inning marathon game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since that win, Wandy has been a completely different pitcher. In five starts, he’s gone 3-1 with a 1.95 ERA. Opponents have hit just .210 off Wandy the last five times he has taken the hill, as opposed to the .297 average they possessed in his first few outings. Rodriguez has thrown no less than six innings in each of those starts while averaging 94 pitches. His earned run average has dropped from 4.06 to 3.65.

In that post, we wrote “…they weren’t overpaying for Zack Greinke (traded to Angels) or Cole Hamels (re-signed by Phillies). However, Wandy is still expected to put up solid numbers and compete every start. He needs to start producing and show he’s worth the money.” The numbers he’s put up since the end of August have definitely been what’s expected. When Wandy came over at the trade deadline, he showed little control, was getting hit hard, and simply wasn’t effective. He was even boo’d for not running out a ground ball on August 15th, the same night he surrendered 5 runs on 10 hits to the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, he looks to be the most consistent Pirates starter as of late.

Here’s a look at the starting rotation since August 20th:

Pitcher Wins Losses ERA Opp. Avg.
Wandy Rodriguez 3 1 1.95 .210
A.J. Burnett 0 3 4.25 .281
James McDonald 1 3 6.75 .272
Kevin Correia 1 2 2.78 .286
Jeff Karstens 1 1 4.91 .364
Jeff Locke 0 1 5.73 .298

As you can see, Rodriguez has been the rock of the rotation. Burnett has regressed a bit and can’t find the win column. McDonald has been awful; a complete 180° since the first half. Correia hasn’t been bad, but he’s still been hit hard with a .286 opponent average. Karstens has been hurt and only made two starts since the end of August. Locke hasn’t been impressive since being inserted in the rotation.

The reason for the Pirates success through July, both this year and last year, was due to starting pitching. They are just 6-17 since the 19 inning game, and the stats of the starters reflect that. Still, Wandy has given the Bucs a solid chance to win every fifth day. Hopefully he can finish the year strong and prove that Neal Huntington & Co. made a good trade.

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