Pre-Game Notes 9/25: Searage’s effect on starters, Astros vs Pirates
How much effect does Ray Searage have on the Pirates starting rotation? Consider this, In the last 15 games the starters are a combined 5-3 with a 3.46 ERA –the best stretch all season.
Manager John Russell credits the addition of James McDonald to the staff. Russell said J-Mac’s 0.90 ERA in his last three starts is “challenging some of our other pitchers to try to follow suit.”
Joe Kerrigan was fired on August 8th, and Russell has credited Searage for the positive results.
“A lot of the things we’ve been talking about for the past month and a half is that we can’t be so results-oriented. Those have to take care of themselves,” Russell said. “Our guys have done that, and we’re making progress. Unfortunately, it took until now. But they’re looking at consistency with each pitch.”
But what exactly does Searage stress to the pitchers?
“It’s all about going pitch to pitch, one at a time,” he said. “If you commit yourself fully to that pitch, you’ve got a much better chance of success. If you’re worried about this or that or things out of your control, you’re in trouble right off the bat.”
Kerrigan focused more on the numbers in relation to specific matchups, whereas, Searage has a more hands on approach. He also allows the pitchers and catchers more freedom with selection of pitches which makes the pitcher more relaxed and not over analyzing every pitch count. Several members of the pitching staff and the catchers have embraced Searage’s style of pitching.
The Pirates have won four of their last five series played at PNC Park and are 11-11-3 in their 25 series at home this season.
The Pirates have homered at least once in 11 of their last 14 games at home and have out homered their opponents 18-11 in their past 17 games at PNC Park.
The Pirates have recorded at least one extra base hit in a season-high 36 consecutive games.
The Pirates have scored the first run in seven of their last nine games and are 38-30 when doing so. They are 38-21 when scoring four or more runs this year.
Jose Tabata is back in the lineup after leaving the game early on Friday with a sore left knee.
He’s such an energetic player for us and he does some great things behind Andrew [McCutchen],” Russell said. “It’s good to have him back in there. The reports we had last night were it’s going to be kind of day to day. It calmed down quite a bit. One of the first things he said today was he wanted to play.”
RHP Bud Norris (9-8, 4.95 ERA)
LHP Zach Duke (7-14, 5.68 ERA)
Norris has a 7.71 ERA his only start at PNC Park this season. He picked up his third consecutive win his last start against the Nationals. Norris allowed two runs through 6.2 innings pitched and his nine wins is a career high.
Duke will be making his final start of the season at PNC Park. He is 30-31 in 80 career starts, winning more than any other pitcher. Duke allowed three runs through 7.1 innings of work his last start against Arizona. He walked one and struck out three but received a no-decision. His 7.1 inning start was his longest this season, and just the seventh time he has pitched past the sixth inning this year. Duke is 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA against Houston this season.
Pirates Lineup:McCutchen 8