This is what’s happened in Kevin Correia’s last four starts: 22 innings, 12 walks, four strikeouts, four home runs. He failed to get out of the fifth inning in one start. He failed to get out of the fourth inning last night, which was one night after Brad Lincoln turned in a solid spot start against the Marlins and two days after Rudy Owens tossed eight strong innings in Indianapolis.
Correia has turned in a couple of decent starts this year and even his last start before last night’s debacle (his showdown with Stephen Strasburg at PNC Park) wasn’t a bad start, but pretty much everything Correia’s done this year looks like a bright red flag to me. His strikeout rate is down by quite a bit for the second year in a row (it was 7.14 in his last year with San Diego, 4.5 last year, and after tonight it’s 3.15 this year). Not only that, but his strikeout percentage is dropping, too (17.9% to 11.7% to 8.7% before last night’s debacle). The completely whacked out K/BB ratio from his last few starts says to me that he’s not fooling anyone and that hitters are either waiting for him to make mistakes and hitting them or waiting for him to miss the strike zone. His results thus far may not be as bad as the peripherals suggest, but there’s absolutely no reason to think that Correia’s going to improve at this point in his career, especially given how much his peripherals declined last year.
The Pirates need to get Correia out of the rotation now and put Lincoln or Owens in his spot. Owens deserves a shot and they need a longer look at Lincoln as a starter. If they keep trotting Correia out there every fifth day, it’s going to be ugly. It’s going to be hard to watch. It’ll be humiliating for Correia. Worst of all, the Pirates’ and their awful offense can’t afford what Correia’s currently bringing to the table every fifth day. They’ve got to make this change now, before things get worse.