The Pirates and Brewers were rained out Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, offering Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle a chance to provide his rotation with a bonus break after the day off Monday.
Kevin Correia, scheduled for Tuesday, will now pitch Wednesday, and Paul Maholm will be pushed back a day to Thursday. After that, Hurdle strongly hinted he would go with Jeff Karstens, Charlie Morton and James McDonald for the weekend series in Cincinnati.
Thing is, the break might not be all that welcome.
For one, Correia, the team's only significant pitcher signed out of free agency, is off to a 2-0 start with a 1.29 ERA, this after a rocky spring. He is not overpowering batters, but he is getting plenty of lazy flyballs and is maintaining his command.
For another, everyone else is doing pretty well, too: The rotation is a combined 3-1 with a 3.39 ERA, an immense improvement over the 5.00 ERA that was worst in baseball last year. Morton's new sinker has been outstanding, McDonald has shown signs of getting it together, and Karstens pitched well in long relief before being moved to the rotation for injured Ross Ohlendorf.
"We're happy with what we've seen so far, but it's a long season," pitching coach Ray Searage said. "We want our guys to keep throwing strikes, keep using the fielders behind them."
Two areas for long-term concern:
1. The starters have 26 walks and just 25 strikeouts. No one is expecting a ton of K's from this group, but that ratio is no recipe for sustaining the early success.
2. They have given up a disproportionate amount of deep flyballs, the kind that tend to find their way over fences once the weather warms up.
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