Game 18: Pirates 8 Padres 3

Tell me which of the following things seems the most improbable to you.

  • The Pirates are 11-7 after playing on April 26th.
  • Andy LaRoche has a ten-game hitting streak.
  • Adam LaRoche has five home runs in April for a .288/.373/.621 line in the worst month for him.
  • Zach Duke has three wins in April.
  • Ross Ohlendorf has two.
  • The Pirates won a game started by Eric Hinske, Brian Bixler, Ramon Vazquez, and Robinzon Diaz.
  • The Pirates have the best ERA in the league.
  • The Pirates have the second best defense in the league.

I can barely wrap my mind around any of these things at the moment, even if I’m still not convinced they’re going to last.

Today, Ross Ohlendorf pitching seven innings and held the Padres to five hits over those seven. Two of those five were home runs by the Gonzalez brothers, giving the Padres their three runs, but what Ohlendorf did was more than enough for the Adam LaRoche-lead offense to stake the Pirates out to their seventh win in nine games this afternoon.

That said, I’m still not certain what to make of Ohlendorf. His peripherals today (three walks and three Ks, only 55 of 95 pitches for strikes) were not great, but today he managed to get 13 ground balls and only 5 flyballs (a considerably better ratio than he had been delivering). Compare his pitch selection from today with the the pitch selection from six days ago against the Marlins. Keep in mind that PitchFX has a hard time distinguishing fastballs and sinkers and considering that Ohlendorf seems to be throwing his power sinker almost exclusively instead of a straight fastball. Against the Marlins, Ohlendorf threw 51 sinker/fastballs, 16 changeups, and 20 sliders. Today, he threw 71 sinker/fastballs, 10 changeups, and 14 sliders. So why the dramatic change in pitch selection? I thought the combination of his off-speed stuff with the power-sinker was devastating against the Marlins, so why pare it down in this game? Is this part of a Joe Kerrigan game plan, or is Ohlendorf still not that confident in his off-speed stuff?

In each of his three good outings, he’s given a little bit of a different look each time out. Is this something we can expect from Ohlendorf, or is he going to settle into more of a style? Whatever the case, he’s certainly interesting to watch this year.

Pat Lackey

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.