The Houston Astros have also been accused of having one of the smallest and most hitter-friendly parks in MLB. However, don’t tell that to former Astro pitcher Wandy Rodriguez, as he was better inside Minute Maid Ballpark than anywhere in his entire career. In 8.5 seasons with the club, he finished 10 games over .500 with a 3.46 ERA while at home, but has a losing record and a 4.65 ERA any time he pitched on the road.
Now a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Rodriguez will either have to find a new home in PNC Park or find a way to be more effective on the road. Rodriguez has never been categorized as a dominant pitcher in the league however, his ability to eat innings and give quality starts is needed on every team. In 2012, he lead the league with 33 starts and matched a career-high of 205.2 innings pitched, which he also did with the Astros in 2009.
The Pirates will need a good season from Rodriguez if they hope to contend in the NL Central this season. In my mind, he will bring consistency to a team that hasn’t been stable in each of the last two seasons. Adjustments will have to come as Rodrgiuez became so comfortable in Houston and will now only pitching in Minute Maid Ballpark as a visitor.
Slotted as the Pirates #2 starter behind A.J. Burnett I look for Rodriguez to continue stifling NL Central bats however, shortcomings may come in what will be his first opening day without the Astros logo across his cap.