Pitching improves under Searage but will he stay?
Ray Searage took over as interim pitching coach after the Pirates dismissed Joe Kerrigan in early August. A lot of managerial changes are bound to happen this off season but Searage may be around for 2011.
“Certainly, the pitchers have thrown the ball better as of late,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “Ray deserves some credit for that, and we certainly recognize that. There’s a reason why he was added to the Major League staff this year. We believe he can make a positive impact on the pitchers that are under his care and his tutelage, and that’s something that will definitely be taken into consideration as we move forward to make those decisions that we talked about this offseason.”
Searage began the 2010 season as an extra pitching coach working mainly with the relievers in the bullpen.
Many players have spoke out on how they enjoy working with Searage and like his style of pitching. Since he took over for Kerrigan, the staff’s ERA has dropped from 5.07 to 4.85.
“Pitchers responded, have been more efficient,” manager John Russell said. “They’ve given us a much better opportunity to win. Ray has done a really good job. He’s very energetic. He lets them be themselves, but he can also be demanding at the same time. He has a good rapport with them.”
Paul Maholm –who has worked with Searage since he started in Single-A– said this about the interim pitching coach:
“If you’re not feeling good about yourself, then go throw a bullpen with Ray,” Maholm said. “He’s passionate, he’s positive, he brings out the best in you. He believes in you.”
“It’s more about going out there and getting outs instead of worrying about some of the other stuff,” Maholm said.
Searage allows the starters much more freedom than Kerrigan did, who had a numbers based approach to the game.
“It’s more of a two-way street,” Searage said. “I’ll talk, they’ll talk and we’ll come to a happy medium. They know what they need to do in order to keep themselves sharp. It makes it easier for me, and they’re in a more relaxed atmosphere.”