PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 20: Kevin Correia #29 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch against the Miami Marlins on July 20, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh won the game 4-3. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
I really don't know what to make of this. Kevin Correia has 11 strikeouts in his last 11 innings after recording just 35 in his first 91.1 innings of the season. Kristy Robinson writes that Correia has adjusted and is actively looking to regiester more punchouts.
My strikeouts were really low the first half. I think it was because I was trying to be efficient and get quick outs. It was working fine for me, but I’ve been pitching a lot of close games where I’m going to get pinch-hit for in certain situations. I just decided to pitch for strikeouts more often than I was in the first half. It’s just a different kind of style.
Color me skeptical. Correia says he "made a little adjustment" in an effort to get more swings and misses. The 31-year-old righty has never been a strikeout pitcher. In his 1,000 career innings he has averaged 6.0 K/9 and that number has actually dropped to 4.3 during his time with the Pirates. Correia's BB/9 are also down during his time with the Pirates, so his K/BB ratio continues to remain right around his career number.
Correia's other peripherals are also generally in line with his career numbers. Batters are hitting .266/.315/.448 for an OPS of .763, virtually identical to what he had coming into 2012. On the season, Correia has an ERA of 4.35 and FIP 4.95 and xFIP of 4.56 so, as has seemingly been the case during his entire Pirates' career, some regression is anticipated.
But that would all change if Correia can actually start dialing up Ks at a rate of one an inning.
I find it hard to believe that we are seeing Correia become a different pitcher. He has a WAR of 0.0 (according to Baseball-Reference) or 0.1 (according to Fangraphs), and in his last six starts he has only gone between five and six innings and he threw not less than 82 or more than 97 pitches in each of them. Having said that, the Pirates are 5-1 in those six starts and Correia has been perfectly serviceable each time out.
Honestly, I'm surprised he has made it to the end of July as a member of the starting rotation (as is Charlie, I'm sure). But now I'm intrigued and his next start becomes must-see TV. If Kevin Correia has gone from being to Todd Ritchie to being Jake Peavy, the Pirates' playoff chances just got a whole lot better.