Monday, July 05, 2010

#154: Meek Inherits the Berth

---Bull of the Pen Gets His Due---

It's a relief...pitcher.

Evan Meek, the right-handed fireballer, is the Pittsburgh Pirates' lone representative to the 2010 All Star Game.

I may have mentioned in the past that I am glad that every city must have at least one representative on the roster. That makes sense to me. They don't even need to play (see Exhibit A: Jason Bay in 2005).

Sometimes, the person selected doesn't really fit the mold (Zach Duke wasn't really having an All Star season, but then again, who was?), but pitchers and outfielders are usually the ones an All-Star roster can load up on.

This time, it's probably right that Meek gets the nod.

When a team is on pace to lose 100+ games in a season (Pirates looking at 104 at this rate), it can be harder to make the argument for an all-team participation.

Meek, though, has the stats to back it up.

Meek has a record 4-2 on a team that's won 30 games. Starting LHP Paul Maholm is the only pitcher that has more (or even as many) wins, with 5.

With 47 innings pitched to this point, his ERA is a minuscule 0.96, which is tops on the team by far (Javier Lopez is second at 2.67), and his 0.85 WHIP (Walks + Hits per inning pitched) is the only one on the team below 1.00.

League-wide, he is second among pitchers in ERA with more than 30 innings pitched (Jose Valverde of the Detroit Tigers with a 0.55 ERA), and he's tops in pitchers with more than 40 innings pitched (Jason Berken of the Baltimore Orioles is next with a 1.75 ERA in 46.1 innings).

Pirate fans can only hope he doesn't break down in the second half, as he's also logged the most innings of any reliever on the club, and fifth-most overall.

I had a chance to interview Meek during the Pirates Winter Caravan, as some might remember from a post I wrote back in January. In mid-February, I said that I would release the audio from my various interviews that day toward the end of the season to "hear how ludicrous or prophetic each person sounded".

During that same session, I also interviewed Kevin Hart, whom the Bucs acquired last year in a trade with the Chicago Cubs for Tom Gorzelanny and John Grabow. Hart, who apparently had trouble throwing strikes, underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in May.

Looking back, it is interesting how these two men could not have had fortunes any more different.

As a bonus, count how many times in the nine minute, ten second clip that I say, "Uh..." You'll run out of toes quickly enough.

That's probably part of the reason I'm not working in radio in the city yet.

(Edit - I am more than a little downhearted that I'm not even the third person to think of the main title of this post...)

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