The pen has covered 41-1/3 IP during the nine game road trip. The relievers are picking up four innings per game, with an extra six thrown in thanks to extra innings, which came about because the pen couldn't hold late leads. It's also a given that Chase and Coors Fields make pitching a challenge. Still, the pitching at both ends has been pretty much a train wreck, so a day off and a return to the hurler-friendly confines of PNC are just what the doctor ordered. The relievers get to lick their wounds and the rotation all get an extra day's rest, as Clint opted to push everyone back rather than skip a turn.
|Yes, a day off! (photo Dave Zulabowski/Associated Press)|
Pretty big, if short, six-day homestand. The Pirates are coming off a nice 6-3 coast trip, but the Reds have proved to be a royal pain in the Bucco butt, and then the Cubs roll into town for the season's first head-to-head meeting. The first part of May is a bear; after the Cub set, it's off to St. Louis, Cincy and Chicago. The second part should be a chance to rack up some wins with a 10 game stretch at home against Atlanta, Arizona and Colorado before a fairly brutal June schedule.
So far, so good; the Bucs are three off the pace at 13-9, and the dink-and-double attack backed by a strong bench has worked like a charm. Now only if the pitching comes around. To cherry pick a couple of stats, this year's HR/game is 1.43 (0.66 in '15) while walks per game are 4.51 (2.74 in '15), and the resulting SIERA for 2016 is 4.31; it was 3.56 last year. A couple more strikes and keeping it in the yard look like the key to a turnaround.
- Slated matchups v the Reds: Friday - Dan Straily vs Juan Nicasio, Saturday - Alfredo Simon vs Frankie Liriano, and Sunday - Raisel Iglesias vs Jeff Locke. Gerrit Cole, Jon Niese and Juan Nicasio are in line for following the Cub series.
- More good news from Indy: Jameson Taillon went seven innings today, giving up a run on five hits with two walks and seven K, using just 89 pitches.