Pittsburgh Steelers training camps starts tomorrow, so basically every one who did care about the Pirates this year will stop and start following the Steelers' every move. Well not this blog. Today we're looking at how atrocious Pirates aces have been over the years.
The ace of a baseball team's pitching staff is the man who you call upon every five days to get a quality start and stop a losing skid. They are supposed to log around 200 innings and be the man for your team. He also gets the honor of starting on opening day. This post looks at Pirates "aces" since 2000. The results are not pretty. Only one had a winning record the season he pitched the first game of the season and no one had an ERA below 4.44.
|Schmidt before he got fat.|
Todd Ritchie, 2001: This man is the only guy on this list who actually broke the 200 innings pitched mark. Unfortunately he went 11-15 and boasted a 4.47 ERA. His 1.268 WHIP good enough to top this list, though. We're only at two and we're already a combined 13-20. Oh yeah, this is going to get ugly.
Ron Villone, 2002: One of four pitchers on this list to not break 100 innings pitched in the year he started Opening Day. Villone was a reliever for most of his career after this point, and there are plenty of good reasons for it. He was 4-6 this year with a less than stellar 5.81 ERA. If you're like me, you're wondering what did the rest of these rotations look like if these were the staff aces. There is not enough room, time or patience to go over them.
|Not nearly as pretty as his wife|
Kip Wells, 2004: How sad that I am actually impressed with his 4.55 ERA. Well, he WHIP was 1.525 so 4.55 isn't that bad, right? Wrong. He sucked and we're moving on.
|Please never show your face again|
|Maybe he should have|
tried pitching righty
Ian Snell, 2008: My dad has a friend who sells cars. One day Ian Snell comes to the lot to buy a car. My dad's friend doesn't follow baseball. Ian introduces himself and expects to get some special treatment. The man shakes his hand and proceeds to do his job and try to sell a car. Snell called the manager, who then came out and told my dad's friend that he did nothing wrong, but Mr. Snell wanted to speak to a different salesman. I want to know how the heck this guy had never heard of Snell when in 2008 he had an embarrassing 5.42 ERA and 1.765 WHIP? He was also 7-12 that season.
Paul Maholm, 2009: Here we have the best ERA of any Opening Day starter since 2000. It was 4.44. In his defense, Maholm pitched on numerous days when he probably should have sat out due to injury. His 8-9 record was surprisingly good. Yup, I just called a losing record good. That's how low this list has gone.
Duke, 2010: At first I kept this separate because I think Duke is much better this year than he was in 2007. But looking at the stats again shows that he really isn't. A 5-9 record, 5.09 ERA, 97.1 innings pitched and 1.603 WHIP is one ugly line. He has been very effective since coming off the DL (ERA below 3.20), but he was looking like a batting practice pitcher for the first half of the season.
For those of you keeping track at home, that's a 59-97 record combined in the seasons each of these men started. And there is no end in sight to the lack of aces in this organization. We're in trouble.
Simon and Garfunkel - The Sound of Silence.