Now Commenting On:

Burnett, Bedard add expected punch to rotation

Burnett, Bedard add expected punch to rotation

Burnett, Bedard add expected punch to rotation
ATLANTA -- The Pirates haven't yet seen everything they envisioned for the 2012 season. But the anticipated power punch to the rotation by newcomers A.J. Burnett and Erik Bedard? As advertised.

Burnett picked up eight strikeouts in six innings on Friday, and Bedard followed with nine punchouts in five innings on Saturday. The Pirates wound up with a staff total of 22 strikeouts in the two games -- exceeding anything in back-to-back games in 2011.

"We talked about what we'll see from the two guys we were adding, and it has come into play. It definitely helps," said manager Clint Hurdle, who as a hitter during his playing days, recognizes the practical and demoralizing value of the strikeout.

"Over time, it wears down an offense. It frustrates hitters. Nobody likes to swing and miss," Hurdle said. "And it keeps you away from situations where productive outs can manufacture runs.

"Strikeouts and pop flies are the easiest outs recorded in baseball. No plays need to be made."

A little conflict is at play here, because Hurdle and pitching coach Ray Searage are also huge advocates of quick outs -- those requiring three pitches or fewer. Obviously, relatively few strikeouts are three-and-done.

"If it take six pitches to get a strikeout, yes, there's a toll," Hurdle said. "Retiring guys in three pitches or less really gets you to a good place, an opportunity to pitch deep into a game and use your bullpen to an advantage."

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español