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Preview, #47: 5/19 vs. Giants

Sunday = RayDay

Pittsburgh Pirates v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Joe Panik - 2B Adam Jones - RF
Donovan Solano - SS Ketel Marte - CF
Tyler Austin - 1B Eduardo Escobar - 3B
Evan Longoria - 3B David Peralta - LF
Kevin Pillar - RF Christian Walker - 1B
Stephen Vogt - C Wilmer Flores - 2B
Mac Williamson - LF Nick Ahmed - SS
Steven Duggar - CF John Ryan Murphy - C
Drew Pomeranz - LHP Robbie Ray - LHP

Just a quick preview this time, as we head into the rubber game of this series against the Giants. Robbie Ray will seek to do considerably better than Zack Godley last night. I’m wondering if, at the very least, it might be wise to split the two of them up in the rotation somehow. I say this, because they are the two starters we have who are likely to go least far into the game, which means our bullpen typically has to cover its most innings on consecutive days. Here are the average innings per start of our main guys so far this year:

  1. Zack Greinke: 6.5 (97)
  2. Merrill Kelly: 5.7 (95)
  3. Luke Weaver: 5.7 (96)
  4. Robbie Ray: 5.4 (95)
  5. Zack Godley: 4.4 (84)

The number in brackets is the average number of pitches per game, and excluding Godley, it’s interesting to see how close the other four are to each other. However, Greinke is using those pitches to get through more than an extra inning than Ray. If you break it down into pitches per plate appearance, Kelly has been the most efficient (3.85), ahead of Greinke (3.99) - but Kelly has been allowing considerably more hits (9.6 per nine vs. 6.8) and walks (3.2 vs. 1.1), so is seeing a lot more batters per inning. Zack has pitched 26% innings above Merrill, yet has faced only 9% more batters. And that’s despite Greinke having the lowest percentage of strikes of any of them. It’s clearly not what you throw, it’s how you throw...