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Have you seen enough of Paul Maholm?

Posted By Jim Keller On Sep 5 2010 @ 8:32 am In Pittsburgh Pirates | No Comments

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Can Maholm be any worse?

Enough of Paul Maholm already.

Invent an injury if he doesn’t all ready have one.  Give him a mental vacation.  I hear Martha’s Vineyard is beautiful this time of the year.

I don’t care.  Pick one. Get him out of here.

Despite all the promise Maholm had shown in his first few years, I can’t fathom the Bumbling Bucs having to pay this imposter $5.75 million next season.  Heck, they could  get 10 minimum-salary players for that.  Fat chance the Bumbling Bucs pick up his $9.75 million team option in 2012.

In his latest abomination in front of 30,000 fans at PNC Park on Saturday, the closest thing the Bumbling Bucs have to an “ace” was knocked out in the fifth inning in a 9-2 loss to the Washington Nationals.

He was tagged for seven runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings to drop to 7-14 — the most losses in the National League and one shy of his career high and 2010 leader Kevin Millwood.

The fourth inning of this one was a typical frame for the Bumbling Bucs this season.

LF Jose Tabata took a circuitous route to a blooper by Ryan Zimmerman that fell for a single.  Maholm then walked Mike Morse before Roger Bernardina beat out a bunt.

RF Lastings Milledge then drifted back on a ball struck by Ivan Rodriguez which bounced off the base of the right field line, plating one run.  A second run scored when C Chris Snyder dropped a perfect relay at the plate that had Morse nailed.   Danny Espinosa followed by blooping a soft liner over a drawn-in infield for a 3-0 lead.   Justin Maxwell blasted a sacrifice fly to the deepest part of center field and former Bumbling Buc Nyjer Morgan checked his swing and singled to left, plating the fifth run of the frame.

In the fifth, Rodriguez put a fork in Maholm with a two-run homer to right field.

So there was a lot going on.  The only thing missing was 3B Pedro Alvarez committing an error — he did earlier in the game — and 1B Garrett Jones botching a rundown play.  But even if Maholm is getting a few bad breaks (a few starts ago the umpires missed a call that led to two runs), he’s got to be able to pitch through it.

The eighth overall pick of the 2003 draft seems to have lost a few miles per hour off his heater; rarely does it hit 90 anymore.  Also, his walks are up and strikeouts down from previous years.  He hasn’t been able to effectively finish off hitters when ahead in the count and retiring runners in scoring position has been a nightmare.

In his last 14 starts, the 28-year-old has been tagged with four-or-more runs in an inning nine times.  He has failed to survive five frames in half of his previous six starts. Maholm has lost his last five decisions and is 2-8 with  a 7.54 ERA in his last 11 starts, and he has been tagged for 93 hits in 65 2/3 innings.

Among the 59 starting pitchers with 100 starts over the last four years, only five have

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How long will it take Taillon to reach PNC Park?

fewer than Maholm’s 34, including No. 59, Zach Duke (26). Maholm’s 827 hits allowed ranks fourth.  In Pirates lore, Maholm is third all-time among Pirate lefthanders with 9.91 H/9 IP and has already cracked the top ten with 58 losses.

Can’t wait for James Taillon, Stetson Allie and Luis Heredia.  We can’t afford Maholm — and his futility anymore.

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