Pirates starters Locke, Wandy enjoying good fortune
After a turbulent April, Pirates starting pitchers have the third-lowest ERA in the majors during May and boast an overall ERA (3.90) slightly under the National League average (3.96).
A.J. Burnett arguably has been the league's best starter, but two soft-tossing lefties also are producing. Jeff Locke and Wandy Rodriguez have ERAs in the low-3.00s, seemingly giving the Pirates a trio of quality arms as they battle St. Louis and Cincinnati for NL Central supremacy.
Dig deeper, though, and the Pirates' rotation looks more like a one-man band.
Burnett has been a legitimate ace, according to Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), which estimates a pitcher's ERA based on strikeouts, walks and home runs allowed. Locke and Rodriguez, by contrast, are performing more like pitchers who should have ERAs in the high 4.00s:
ERA and FIP for Pirates starters (Min. 5 starts):
Pitcher ERA FIP
A.J. Burnett 2.73 2.38
Jeff Locke 3.15 4.73
Wandy Rodriguez 3.25 4.67
James McDonald 5.76 4.10
Locke and Rodriguez have been two of the most fortunate pitchers in the game so far when comparing ERA and FIP. They place prominently on a list of starters with an ERA much lower than their FIP:
ERA vs. FIP
Biggest ERA-FIP split among qualified starting pitchers:
Pitcher ERA FIP Diff.
Jeremy Guthrie 2.82 5.54 -2.72
Jason Marquis 3.49 5.61 -2.12
Matt Moore 2.44 4.42 -1.98
Scott Feldman 2.53 4.33 -1.80
Travis Wood 2.03 3.66 -1.63
Patrick Corbin 1.52 3.10 -1.58
Jeff Locke 3.15 4.73 -1.58
Wandy Rodriguez 3.25 4.67 -1.42
Kris Medlen 3.44 4.79 -1.35
Zach McAllister 2.68 4.03 -1.35
Locke (5.5 strikeouts per nine innings pitched) and Rodriguez (6.5 K/9) are punching out far fewer hitters than the average NL starter (7.1 K/9). All of that contact could balloon their ERAs. Locke (.231 Batting Average on Balls in Play) and Rodriguez (.233 BABIP) have BABIP totals that are more than 50 points lower than the NL average for starters (.288).
David Golebiewski is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Two wild-card format hurting Pirates in short term
- Gameday: Pirates at Brewers, Sept. 1, 2015
- No certainty for Pirates’ call-up veterans
- Biertempfel: Pittsburgh native faced quick learning curve as Marlins GM
- Starting 9: Pirates place renewed emphasis on nabbing base-stealers
- Rossi: Continuing legend of Pirate Ray
- Strong-armed outfielder Garcia growing into all-around threat
- Pirates notebook: Burnett’s simulated game goes well
- Pirates erupt for 6-run 2nd, maul Marlins behind Locke, McCutchen
- Pirates notebook: Hurdle’s faith in Polanco pays off
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Rockies, Aug. 30, 2015