by Matt Trueblood
on February 16, 2010 @ 00:00:00
There tends to be a negative effect on the rates of both strikeouts and walks at Pittsburgh's PNC Park. Batters put the ball in play left and right in Pittsburgh, and that makes for plenty of hits, outs, everything. Groundballs have been the safest bet for a hit at PNC.
John Russell is patient and tends to let players play through problems, a philosophy most easily pursued when a city has extremely low expectations and the manager lacks better options. That, along with his case-by-case philosophy on the running game, makes him a pretty good manager for fantasy owners, even if his team isn't.
Russell and his coaching staff have generally allowed their hurlers to work through rough stretches, as evidenced by the team's league-low 177 runners bequeathed to relievers. That doesn't mean they were good. Relatively speaking, they rarely made it to 100 pitches, though, and allowed the fourth-most runs per game in the NL. Pittsburgh starters haven't logged big innings.
The home team's tendency to yield a lot of contact makes Pittsburgh's philosophy of pitching aggressively, trumpeted by Joe Kerrigan, a good fit for their environs. Their inability to miss bats, however, did not come along with above-average control, and that has hurt them across the board. A long history of handling pitching prospects poorly and poor evaluation of talent takes awhile to correct, too.
It is nearly the same story at every position on the diamond for Pittsburgh: The players have talent, but they lack discipline or focus. Andrew McCutchen and Lastings Milledge potentially make the outfield strength.
However, groundball-oriented Pittsburgh pitchers will have to deal with the continued miscues of Ronny Cedeno, who plays much better at the keystone. Akinori Iwamura is at least marginal. Andy LaRoche, though, is a solid third baseman and should get better, if he doesn't move to another position.
About Matt Trueblood
Matt is a journalism student at Loyola University Chicago. The guest contributor is a featured Chicago Cubs columnist on the Bleacher Report as well as a contributor to hotstove.com. Matt envisions himself as both a writer and analyst and strives to deliver pieces that are both well-researched and thought-provoking. He work first appeared on KFFL.com in February 2010.
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