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Pirates Losing Patience With Snell

One doesn't need to read too far between the lines of this article (found by Rowdy) to tell the Pirates have had it up to here with Ian Snell.

The Pirates wouldn't say if one or two more bad starts might jeopardize Snell's spot in the rotation. Talking not about Snell, but about a struggling young pitcher in general, Littlefield said "What you've got to continue to watch, if things don't go well over time, is how much time can you give him?"

But Littlefield said left-hander Tom Gorzelanny is the pitcher most likely to be recalled from Triple-A if the Pirates decide to make a move soon. He also said it wouldn't matter if the Pirates had four left-handed starters and one right-hander, as they would have if Snell went down and Gorzelanny came up.

I'd love to see some more of Gorzelanny, but still, I hope the Pirates will be patient here. Three starts is not many at all. Snell has considerably more upside than Ryan Vogelsong, for example, and how many chances has Vogelsong gotten? Snell doesn't deserve a free pass forever, but I think he does deserve a couple months to sort things out. Paul Maholm has been nearly as bad as Snell and, unlike Snell, has very little experience at Class AAA. If you're going to send a struggling guy down (which I don't really advocate at this point), he's the one I'd send down, since there are still things he can learn down there. I don't see the point in having Snell dominate the International League again. And it's also way too early to bury Snell in the bullpen.


What baffles the Pirates is that Snell was nearly as successful - and, at times, dominating - in the minor leagues as was left-hander Zach Duke, yet Duke has had much more success in the majors. Snell is 1-4 in the majors with an ERA that is approaching 7.00; Duke is 9-3 with a 2.28 ERA after beating the Cubs 2-1 Saturday night.
What? Perhaps it's just a weird choice of words by the reporter, but the Pirates are "baffled" by the fact that one of their young starters failed to go all Walter Johnson on the league like Duke did? They're "baffled" when a young starter has struggled a little after only nine big league starts? Come on. When you have four starters under 25, you've got to expect rough patches. They just come with the territory. And to a certain extent, you've just got to let them pass and try to get your starters through them.

I know Snell hasn't been good, but the real problem here is that all the Pirates' starters have stunk. Can anyone imagine that if all the Pirates' starters were doing well except, say, Maholm, that we'd be reading this article about Maholm after three starts? I don't think we would. It's not really fair to single Snell out for his poor starts when everyone is doing poorly, and it's not a good idea to make a rash decision that probably wouldn't be made if not for circumstances (poor pitching by other starters) that really have little to do with the player most affected by the decision.