Statistically speaking: Pirates dominating bullpens in late innings
The Pirates, holding the second-best team on base plus slugging percentage (.766) in the National League since May 1 and now featuring uber prospect Gregory Polanco's bat, will travel to Miami for the first time in 2014 to target the sculptures, night clubs and pools beyond Marlins Park's outfield walls.
Reaching those amenities won't be easy against a Miami rotation featuring many polished young arms, even with 2013 NL Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez mending from Tommy John surgery. Friday's scheduled starter, Nathan Eovaldi, and Henderson Alvarez (Sunday) rank among the NL's leaders in fewest walks and homers allowed. But if the Pirates can keep it close heading into the late innings, their clutch bats and shutdown bullpen should give them the upper hand.
The Pirates are hammering relievers this season, posting the NL's highest OPS during the seventh through ninth innings. Andrew McCutchen (.953 OPS during innings 7-9), Russell Martin (.932), Josh Harrison (.896) and Gaby Sanchez (.859) aren't having any trouble tattooing hard-throwing 'pen arms. Miami is also unloading on relievers, with Giancarlo Stanton (1.022), Marcell Ozuna (.937), Reed Johnson (.904) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.863) doing the most damage.
Team OPS Innings 7-9
NL Avg. .665
While both clubs rake in the late frames, only the Pirates' bullpen rises to the occasion by suffocating opposing lineups in tight situations. Bucs relievers rank fourth in the National League in Win Probability Added (WPA), which estimates how much a player helps or hurts his team's chances of emerging victorious. The Marlins, by contrast, place 12th in the NL in WPA.
Tony Watson +2.00
Mark Melancon +0.68
Jared Hughes +0.34
Justin Wilson +0.34
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.
- Pirates hope 1st baseman Alvarez starts to regain power stroke
- Starkey: Cervelli’s inspiration
- Gameday: Pirates at Tigers, June 30, 2015
- Late rally falls short, as Pirates can’t complete sweep of Braves
- Pirates notebook: Reliever Guerra finally reaches majors as Scahill goes on DL
- Starting 9: First base continues to prove problematic for Pirates
- Finally healthy, former 1st-rounder Joe finding his way
- Pirates notebook: Power shortage continues, Tabata designated for assignment
- Pirates notebook: Red Sox, Phillies pitchers could be on Pirates’ radar
- McCutchen’s 1st-inning exit with injury mars Pirates’ victory over Braves
- Pirates overcome mistakes with big inning to knock off Reds