Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez did not make a start between April 8 and April 19 due to a strained left hamstring. However, that did not prevent the right-hander from leaving right where he left off.
Rodriguez has been outstanding so far this season. In three starts, he is 2-0 with an impressive 0.56 earned run average, 0.38 WHIP, 11 strikeouts and only one walk in 16 innings. That includes his phenomenal return to the mound Friday night against the Atlanta Braves. Rodriguez went seven strong innings and struck out five batters without giving up a run against arguably the best team in Major League Baseball.
“It was like throwing darts, man,” manager Clint Hurdle told Pirates.com after the 6-0 win. “As sharp as you ever want to see a guy — from Pitch One to the 82nd pitch he threw.”
There is no question Rodriguez had his way with the Atlanta hitters, a common theme against any team he faces this season. The 34-year-old had complete control over all of his pitches, and he was able to pinpoint his fastball wherever he wanted.
“That fastball command … he was throwing on a downhill plane, getting that and the breaking ball to both sides of the plate,” Hurdle said, according to Pirates.com. “Just excellent. Very aggressive, really good with the first-pitch strikes, working ahead and avoiding deep counts against a good hitting team. It was just what we needed.”
Considering Pittsburgh’s starting rotation has seen its fair share of problems in 2013, it is comforting to know that Rodriguez and A.J. Burnett are able to bail out the team with their solid outings. With a makeover of the rotation coming soon, it is safe to say that both of those starters will have a job once Francisco Liriano and Charlie Morton return from the 15-day disabled list in early May.