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Astros 6, Pirates 4

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John Van Benschoten racked up six walks today. He allowed four runs in 4.2 innings, which lowered his ERA. 

John Russell before the game:

“There is a difference between Class AAA and the major leagues because you’re now playing at the highest level of baseball but a lot of it is also mental,” Russell said. “I’ve seen hitters tear up Class AAA and then be completely different hitters in the major leagues.

“I don’t think there is a question of John having the talent to compete at the major-league level. I think it’s a matter of him not worrying about who he is facing and trying to be so fine with all his pitches, and instead just going out and pitching the way he’s capable of pitching.”

That's not the problem, really. The problem is that Van Benschoten is just terrible. He had a 2.56 ERA at Indianapolis last year, but he also struck out only 6.52 batters per nine and walked 4.21. That's really bad. This year those numbers are better, but still not great. You can't just look at minor league ERA, even a Class AAA ERA, and imagine it will translate. While Van Benschoten's minor league numbers suggest he's better than a 10.00 ERA, he could do a lot better than that and still be unworthy of a big-league roster spot.

I'm sure Russell, who used to manage in Class AAA, knows all that. But come on. Van Benschoten is no mystery. He's 28. He's a decent AAA pitcher. It really couldn't be simpler.