Monday, July 17, 2006

The more things change...

Tonight against Colorado, Kip Wells brought his ERA down from the ionosphere to a point between the mesosphere and stratosphere...which, to the layman, would be approximately where the o-zone is. In 7 innings, Kipper reduced that inflated number from 12.42 to 9.13, surrendering only a solo home run to Clint Barmes in the 3rd inning. He also pitched himself out of a couple of jams in that span: runners at second and third with no one out in the 2nd inning, and a two-on, one-out situation in the 6th.

That's a definite change of color from the Wells we saw come off the disabled list, get rushed through a couple of rehab starts, bypassing a AAA rehab start, only to get shelled by the Royals. In the last 12 innings, only one run allowed. Now we can all get back to thinking about the normal stuff:

Kip Wells and the Curse of the No Run Support!

In Kip's first 3 losses, the Pirate offense was able to plate 16 runners. But in his 4th start, the game was over in the first inning as the Pirate offense decided to take in the sights of New York.

I do wish that Josh Fogg hadn't pitched yesterday. It would have been fun to see a Wells/Fogg "duel".


Matt Capps got his first save tonight. He's a slimmer Bobby Jenks. If Dave Littlefield has any brians, he will not deal Mr. Capps, probably the only, true strike-thrower on the team. He's a rookie...and he's only walked 5 batters in 55 career innings (one of these intentionally).

I'll take watching this guy give up a few hits in a rocky outing over him start to nibble at the plate like everyone else on the staff. That is what makes you a feared pitcher in this league. Derrick Turnbow has blown 7 saves in 30 chances. This was not a problem last year. He's losing his confident facade. Mariano Rivera, meanwhile, continues to intimidate in big-game situations. There have been a couple of cracks in that facade, most notably Game 7 of the 2001 World Series in Arizona and Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS in Boston, but there are usually more cracks in opposing hitters bats.

Is Capps a Rivera? Probably not, but compared to the other Pirate relievers, Gonzo included, you bet he is.

That is a change that could help cement the bullpen.


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