Results tagged ‘ joe kerrigan ’
Former Pirates pitching coach Joe Kerrigan may not be on the staff anymore, but yet he continues to be a story from all the tinkering he did to the pitchers last season.
We’ve heard about the issues between Brad Lincoln’s mechanics that were tweaked by Kerrigan, this time Charlie Morton says he was advised to stop throwing his sinker –a pitch he threw two seasons prior. Morton has also been throwing the sinker this spring, and the results are very encouraging.
“I think when I get that good sinker action, it allows me to be more aggressive in the zone,” said Morton, who has induced three double plays in five innings this spring. “I don’t have to be too fine. I can be more over the plate, just down in the zone.”
“He’s letting the ball work for him now,” Bucs manager Clint Hurdle said. “He’s kept the ball down with great regularity. It’s great to see him out there competing and feeling good about himself.”
The 2010 season for Brad Lincoln was a difficult road.
After making his major league debut on June 9th, he went 1-2 in five starts (31 innings) allowing 16 earned runs, striking out 14 and walked nine.
He best start came against the Chicago Cubs in which he pitched a seven inning shutout striking out a career high six –picking up his first major league win.
Then pitching coach, Joe Kerrigan, tinkered with Lincoln’s mechanic’s and things started to spiral. Lincoln only made four more starts before being sent back to Triple-A Indy.
“Last year made me realize, ‘Hey, this is my career,’” Lincoln said. “I am the determiner of my career. That’s the way I have to look at it. That’s what I took most out of last year — just be who you are and don’t let anybody dictate how you go about your business.”
Since Ray Searage took over as pitching coach, he has been working with Lincoln, trying to get his mechanic’s back to the way he was before.
“Mechanically, he’s there,” pitching coach Ray Searage said. “He’s back to where he was and we’re not going to fiddle around with him. Here is the ball. Go get him.”
“I don’t want [Searage] to go and not say anything to me,” Lincoln said. “But in the same sense, he’s going to let me be who I am and get that aggressiveness back and be a more physical pitcher. Last year, I felt like I was using a lot of my upper body instead of using what God gave me, and that’s big legs.”
Lincoln has been working hard this offseason, focusing on his core and his lower half during his conditioning programs.
Lincoln may have a check list of things to accomplish before the Pirates will give him a chance back in the starting rotation: consistency, his changeup has to develop and a better mindset on the mound, but that doesn’t stop him from believing he can make the Pirates team as a starter by the end of camp.
“I’m going to take the approach that I’m going to make the team out of spring,” Lincoln said. “I don’t want to go to Triple-A. I want to be at the top. That’s the way I’m going to approach it. The cards may fall as they do, but I’m going to have the attitude that I’m going to make this team and I’m going to be the guy to help out this team.”
Long gone this season in Bradenton, FL. Are the strings that marked the bottom of the strike zone –a tool used by former Pirates pitching coach Joe Kerrigan.
Ray Searage will still be using the life sized batting dummies during batting sessions this year –but only sparingly.
“If you need a visual to get the ball down, then you need to go back to the minor leagues,” Searage said. “This is the can-do league. This is the majors leagues. Get the ball down. Make it happen. What I’m trying to get them to concentrate on is the execution of the pitch and not so much on how you’re doing it. We can take care of that later if we need to. In the game, you need to focus on executing the pitch — not where your front shoulder is or anything else. Get the ball to where you want it to be”
Searage is pleased with the pitchers, especially Evan Meek, Tyler Yates and Mike Crotta, who he says stood out during their bullpen sessions.
“Yates looks like he could pitch (in a game) tomorrow,” Searge said. “That was the best ‘pen I’ve ever seen out of Meek. Good gosh, it was solid. “Crotta, a young kid, looked sharp.”
“I’m really happy,” Searage said. “Not that I’m going to go out and buy a case of champagne, but I’m very happy with the progression and what transpired during the winter (throwing) program.”
After meeting with the media and being formally announced as Pirates new skipper, Cint Hurdle sat down with General Manager Neal Huntington to discuss the coaching staff for next season.
John Russell’s staff –Third base coach Tony Beasley, Bullpen coach Luis Dorante and hitting coach Don Long were all told after the 2010 season to explore other opportunities. It is not yet been determined if any will stay or go as Clint Hurdle has a huge part in who he wants to be with him for the 2011 season.
Ray Searge (who took over as pitching coach for Joe Kerrigan) and Jeff Banister (who took over as bench coach for Gary Varsho) are said to be considered by Hurdle.
“It’s a huge part for me to make sure that there are people internally that are available that we keep in place or that we promote from within,” Hurdle said. “I think it sends a huge message to our player development program. There is some familiarity there that I don’t have.
“There are some very qualified people. None of them do I know very well. That being said, that doesn’t back me off of them whatsoever. We’re going to make decisions that are going to show our belief in our player development people.”
Jeff Banister was interviewed by the Bucs for the managerial position and has spent 25 years in the Pirates organization.
“Jeff has done some unbelievable things for this organization,” Huntington said. “He has made an impact, and it’s certainly our hope that he will make an impact for us going forward.”
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.”
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
Brad Lincoln was among one of the eight guys called up from Triple-A Indy on Tuesday. Lincon had a dissapointing stay when he was re-called earlier this season.
John Russell said his use for the remainder of the season will be out of the Bullpen, something Lincoln hasn’t done since being drafted in 2006.
The move is to help Lincoln work on his mechanics and it in no way suggests he will become a reliever in the future.
“We’ll get him built back up a little bit,” manager John Russell said. “He’s going to have some time to do some things with [pitching coach] Ray [Searage] and get back on track.”
Lincoln said he has recovered fully from neck stiffness that caused him to go on the DL.
“The box score might not have shown it, but I felt my stuff and velocity was good,” said Lincoln, who combined to allow six earned runs on seven hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings. “I was just finding barrels. But as far as how I felt? I probably felt the best since getting back from being up here.”
Brad did say that the minor adjustments that were made when he was starting with the Pirates effected him mentally. [Perhaps a good reason why Joe Kerrigan was let go. He changed a lot of the Pitchers mehanics, and lets face it, the Pirates pitching has crumbled this season.]
“It wasn’t a major mechanical delivery change, but there were checkpoints that were kind of just different from what I was used to and maybe made me focus too much on stuff there which, in turn, made me not focused on getting the hitter out,” Lincoln said. “So it was more mental for me.”