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Maholm Still Struggling

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I just saw this teaser for the Post-Gazette's recap of last night's game and assumed I was reading a Paul Meyer article:

Paul Maholm had created quite a mess for himself, and he knew it. But he also knew, as did others on the Pirates' side, that he had the talent and temperament to escape it after having done it so many times before.

That's one way of looking it. Other ways of looking at it include the following:

  1. Four runs allowed in five innings is not good.
  2. Four strikeouts and three walks in five innings is not good.
  3. More broadly, a 4.91 ERA is not good.
  4. 107 strikeouts and 76 strikeouts in 163 innings is not good.
  5. A .381 OBP against is really not good. In fact, it's the worst among National League qualifiers.
  6. Seven wins in 27 starts is not good, so it's not as if Maholm has some sort of magical ability to turn subpar performances into ballgames won.
Anyway, my point is not to pick too much on the usually excellent Dejan Kovacevic (and anyway, the rest of the article is fine), but rather to point out that Maholm has a long way to go if he's going to become a good starter, and it bothers me when I see quotes like this (from Jim Colborn):
"Every bit of adversity he faces, he has a chance to learn. And he is learning, believe me."

I guess if I were coaching the Pirates, I'd probably also feel the need to try to convince people I was doing a good job. But it's not at all clear from Maholm's month-by-month stats that he's learning anything. He's had exactly one good month, and that was May. He's a total mess on the road, where he can't rely on the huge left field at PNC. And he continues to walk batters at an alarming rate - he's fifth among qualifiers in bases on balls.

All of this is to explain why I find Maholm frustrating to watch in almost the same way I found Josh Fogg frustrating to watch. Clearly, Maholm's still young and he can be better than Fogg, but it should give us pause that the Pirates have so much riding on Maholm's success.