RODNEY DANGERFIELD must be the patron saint of Kevin Correia.
The late comedian who died in 2004 at the age of 82 always began his shtick with the phrase, “I don’t get no respect.”
The Bucs’ right-handed pitcher knows the feeling.
When the Bucs signed Correia to a two-year contract in December 2010, GM Neal Huntington called his newest starter “…a solid major league starting pitcher and a strong addition to our rotation. We feel he is poised for a return to his 2009 form where he gave his club a chance to win nearly every start while carrying a significant innings pitched workload."
He did just that.
Inked for $4 million last year and $3 million this year, Correia started 2011 strong; through mid-July he had 11 wins and was named an All-Star. A strained oblique limited him during the second half of the season, ending his shortened season with a 12-11 record.
Yet Correia finds himself as the starter most likely to be moved to the bullpen every time more than five names are mentioned.
When the Bucs inked lefty Eric Bedard and traded for A.J. Burnett as starters before this season, the first name too many thought of as the most logical to move to the bullpen was the 31-year-old Correia. An injury and subsequent season-ending surgery to Charlie Morton ended talk of Correia’s perceived move to the bullpen.
And while Burnett and James McDonald stole the headlines with outstanding performances over the first half of the season, Correia posted an 8-6 record, including six straight wins.
Correia’s work included a 7-1 record with a 4.04 ERA in his 11 starts from late May through late July. In those 11 starts, he was charged with three or fewer earned runs on nine occasions and the Pirates went 9-2 in those 11 games.
So when the Pirates acquired Wandy Rodriguez from the Houston Astros on July 24, guess who gets bumped?
Who else but Kevin “Dangerfield” Correia, while in the midst of the best streak of his 10-year career.
"First time in his career he wins six straight, and he’s moved to the 'pen?” manager Clint Hurdle said announcing the move. “I had to wrestle with that one. It's one of the hardest decisions we've had to make. But we're best served right now by moving him out there.
"I don't think [Jeff] Karstens is in position, physically, to move to the bullpen. Bedard isn't either. No disrespect to Kevin, and I told him that. He needs to be encouraged by what he's been able to do."
Unfortunately, Rodriguez hasn’t been able to do much with Pittsburgh: He is 0-2 in three starts with the Pirates; overall he has won just once since June 14.
When the Bucs needed a spot starter last week, Correia got the call and…surprise, surprise…he won his seventh consecutive game, lifting his record to 9-6. That gives Correia a 21-17 record in 48 games as a Pittsburgh Pirate.
The last pitcher to win more than 21 total games in two consecutive decisions was Kip Wells, who went 22-23 in 64 games in 2003 and 2004.
This column was written before Correia took the mound as a spot starter again last night, and he may have been pounded by the Dodgers.
But, win or lose, Correia needs to be worked back in the rotation and let Karstens and/or McDonald earn their way back to the starting rotation.
Correia is not to be confused with Cy Young, but neither should he be confused with Rodney Dangerfield.
TV RATINGS CONTINUE TO SOAR: Root Sports' 25 Pirates broadcasts in July drew an average 9.17 rating, or about 265,000 viewers per game, according to the network. By comparison, Penguins hockey broadcasts in 2011-12 drew an average 8.03 rating locally, and those marks are tops for any U.S.-based NHL or NBA team. The team is on pace to have its highest-rated tv ratings season since 1994.
Jim Sankey is a baseball columnist for the Allied News.
RODNEY DANGERFIELD must be the patron saint of Kevin Correia.
HIGH SCHOOL SPRING SPORTS ROUNDUP: County track set today at Hickory
The annual Mercer County Track & Field Invitational will be held at Hickory High’s Hornet Stadium today, beginning at 9 a.m.
Competing are all Mercer County teams, Class AAA and AA, as well as Slippery Rock. The meet serves as a warm-up to the District 10 championships set next week at Harbor Creek High.
RANDOM THOUGHTS: Competitive cheerleading tough for even manly men
WHEN I THINK OF MYSELF, I think I’m one of the more manly men you’ll find.
I definitely don’t mind eating all kinds of meat and potatoes. I love watching sports — and participating in them when I can.
I do many other things that ‘real’ men do that aren’t fit for print and proper readers.
What I don’t do is wear skinny jeans or other tight-fitting clothes. I don’t wear jewelry nor do I wear colors that lean more to the femine side than the masculine side.
HIGH SCHOOL SPRING SPORTS ROUNDUP: Mercer 9 drops thriller to KC
It was a game both teams were trying to win — it just seemed as though neither wanted to — as Kennedy Catholic High baseball team met Mercer Friday afternoon in an inter-region District 10 affair.
The teams traded late leads before, ultimately, Scott Moore’s fielder’s choice RBI-grounder scored pinch-runner Ethan Feldmiller with the game-winner, as KC captured an 11-10 conquest.
NCAA Football: Rock 6-1 after 17-3 win over Cal U
Slippery Rock University rode a length-of-the-field scoring drive by its offense and a goal-line stand by its No. 1-ranked defense late in the first half of action Saturday to a 17-3 win over 14th-ranked visiting California (Pa.).
NFL: Steelers top Jags as Mendenhall makes return
Mike Tomlin isn’t ready to say the Pittsburgh Steelers are back. Not after watching his team sleepwalk through the second half against Jacksonville on Sunday.
IndyCar Racing: Crash takes Wheldon’s life
Every race car driver heads onto the track understanding this race could be the last and hoping it won’t be. On Sunday, IndyCar drivers got a harsh reminder when the worst happened to one of their own.
NHL: Sabres beat Penguins 3-2
The Buffalo Sabres have had trouble with the Pittsburgh Penguins whether Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin play or not.
NHL Quick glance: Montreal at Pittsburgh
A breakdown of the National Hockey League game Thursday night between the Pittsburgh Penguins and visiting Montreal Canadiens.
High School Highlights: Oct. 19, 2011
A look at the last few days in local high school fall sports action.
Leading Off: Oct. 19, 2011
News and notes from the local, regional and national sports scene.
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