After a marvelous homestand, it seems like forever since the Pirates have strung together a few wins. After losing six out of their last seven games, they will turn to the pitcher that has given them their only win in that span, Jeffery Alan Locke.
Jeff Locke has been hated by the Yinzers for years. It is sad how much hatred they have for this man, even though he has been counted on to just be a #5 pitcher in a productive starting rotation. For his career, he owns a 4.18 ERA and currently holds a 4.33 ERA. Why much of the fans cannot appreciate this from a #5 pitcher is beyond our believe at NSN, but let’s compare it to the previous World Series winners #5 pitchers.
Last years Royals rotation featured Jeremie Guthrie as their #5 who had a 5.95 ERA. The Giants had Matt Cain in 2014 with a 4.18 ERA. In 2013, the Red Sox had Felix Doubront pitch with a 4.32 ERA. Even going further to 2012 shows Barry Zito pitching for the Giants, who won twice as you can see in this paragraph, owning a 4.15 ERA. What is even funnier is that he wasn’t even the worst pitcher. Tim Lincecum owned a 5.18 ERA, and this team still won the World Series. If you go as far back as 2011 when those beloved Cardinals won, who everyone wants to claim is better than the Pirates due to them being a ‘real team’, they did it while having Jake Westbrook pitch 183 innings of 4.66 ERA baseball. All of this is here to show you that there is nothing wrong with having the Jeff Locke’s on your baseball team and shame on you for treating him as such.
Now with all of that said, Locke has definitely had his up and down moments and his worst of this season was when he pitched in San Diego and gave up eight earned runs in just 3 innings of work. Since that game, however, Locke has made seven starts and accumulated a 3.51 ERA. He also has 26 strikeouts verse 11 walks in that span. Essentially, Locke has been our second best pitcher on the club behind Gerrit Cole and is coming off of his best start of his career in Miami.
After the news broke of Garrett Richards needing possible Tommy John surgery, they scrambled to find a pitching replacement in their rotation. Since they were unable to fill the spot internally after trading Sean Newcomb to Atlanta, they turned to Atlanta once again and found a replacement in Jhoulys Chacin.
Jhoulys Chacin was once a very productive pitcher in the unfriendly environment of Colorado. His best season came in 2013 when he totaled 197 innings while having a 3.47 ERA and a 2.07 K/BB rate. After a couple injury riddled years, he would up signing a minor league deal with the Braves. Since coming over to L.A. in that deal, Chacin sports a 3.42 ERA and a .987 WHIP. He has been getting it done for the Halo’s though it has just been 26.1 innings. While in Atlanta and throwing the same number of innings, he carried a 5.40 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. The tale of two pitchers will come in to PNC Park, which is known as a pitchers park in case any out of towners were unaware. Since Chacin has been productive in ball parks like Coors, his career 48.4% roundball rate should fare well.
It has been announced that David Freese‘s hand is feeling better, but appears to not be available today. Today, Hurdle announced Mercer will not be made available in todays game, though, Jordy Mercer was said to have his x-rays come back negative and claims to be good to go. In other news, Pittsburgh has called up LHP Cory Luebke and RHP Curtis Partch while optioning Wilfredo Boscan and Rob Scahill. I would imagine Scahill, if not both, are back up in the majors as soon as they are able to.
Not too many players on the Pirates have faced Chacin over the years. Andrew McCutchen has the most at bats with 12 and has four hits (one a home run), four RBI’s, and a .429 OBP. Starling Marte is coming into this game pretty hot over the past week batting .333 with eight hits. After coming off of a three hit game, it would be great to see Marte carry that over today. Gregory Polanco is also playing well over the past week batting .300, but more importantly over the past two weeks he is batting .361 with three home runs.
- Jaso 1B
- McCutchen CF
- Polanco RF
- Marte LF
- Kang 3B
- Harrison 2B
- Mercer SS
- Stewart C
- Locke P