Pittsburgh Pirates Must Put Short Leash on Wandy Rodriguez
After a couple weeks on the 15-day disabled list, Pittsburgh Pirates left-hander Wandy Rodriguez will be activated on Thursday to make a start against the mighty Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. This is both good and bad news for the injury-riddled Pirates; they are getting another healthy body back in the dugout, but the southpaw has been horrible in his four starts in 2014.
Rodriguez is 35 years old and has had an underrated career. The veteran has pitched eight seasons with the Houston Astros and parts of three seasons with the Bucs. In 1,464.1 career innings pitched, Rodriguez has a 4.06 ERA. In his prime, Rodriguez would have been a mid-rotation starter on most teams, but was forced into the ‘ace’ role on several terrible Astros teams.
Since being traded to the Pirates in 2012, Rodriguez is 11-10 with a 4.17 ERA. A major reason for his ERA being that high is the horrible start he has had to the 2014 season. In 20 innings this season, the veteran southpaw is 0-2 with a 7.65 ERA. His command has been terrible for the most part, although that isn’t shown by his 2.70 BB/9. His command isn’t resulting in walks, but it is resulting in way too many hard-hit balls.
Due to a lack of command of any of his pitches, Rodriguez is giving up by far a career-high 3.15 HR/9. Obviously, giving up 3.15 HR/9 is way too much, and even though his effectiveness has been missing, he will almost surely regress to the mean (in a positive way) at some point.
For a guy with the track record that Rodriguez has, the Pirates have almost no choice but to give him another chance to prove himself. Maybe his leg injury was significantly hindering his ability to make good pitches.
However, if he does get hit a lot in his first start or two off the disabled list, the Pirates must be willing to move on from the lefty and give his spot in the starting rotation to a younger, more effective pitcher like Brandon Cumpton. The Bucs have dug themselves quite a hole in the National League Central. Even though it is only May, the team can’t afford to keep giving away games by giving playing time to players that can’t get the job done.