Pittsburgh Pirates’ Jeff Locke A Welcome Surprise
The Pittsburgh Pirates are off to a surprising start with many thinking they can finish the season with the winning record, and this would be the first occurrence since 1992.
One of the reasons Pittsburgh is having success is because of their great bullpen and the leader of their bullpen is Jason Grilli.
Another reason is due to the emergence of one of their starters from the rotation. For most teams to do well, you need consistency from the rotation and one of the starters to have a breakout year.
The Pirates have this in their left-handed starter Jeff Locke. Locke is having a career year for them, and is doing this by locating his pitches effectively with great command.
He does not have a great fastball that he can blow by the opposition, but the biggest strength he does have is hitting his spots and pitching to contact. This is the first time where he has an ERA lower than 5.50 in his career.
For Locke in 82 innings thrown this season his ERA stands at 2.19 to go along with six wins and a WHIP of 1.14.
The opposition has also had issues with trying to hit home runs off him; his HR/9 is at a minuscule rate of 0.5. A comparison to one of the best young pitchers in baseball Clayton Kershaw has a HR/9 of 0.4.
He has also been extremely tough on lefties by holding them to a .231 batting average, but what is surprising is that righties are having more issues with figuring him out, as they are just hitting .197.
The one area where he really shines as a starting pitcher is when opposing teams have runners in scoring position. They have a .115/.203/.357 triple-slash in that situation.
This is important because for every starting pitcher in baseball, there will be one inning where the opposition has a chance to score. The way that you can handle the pressure will determine whether you will succeed or fail.