After throwing 131 pitches against the Brewers on Wednesday, Ian Snell faces the Brew Crew once again Tuesday night. The Pirates coaches maintain Snell was left in because he was throwing well, but they conveniently failed to mention that relievers were summoned to pitch eight times in the previous two days. In any event, just about all of Snell's underlying numbers this season are worse than last season, yet his ERA has dropped considerably. He's getting by with the highest strand rate of his career (82.5 percent of runners left on base), and his lowest batting average allowed on balls in play (.280, compared to a .329 career rate).
His slider was working last week against the Brewers -- he got 14 swings on 27 sliders out of the strike zone -- but don't expect the Brewers to be fooled again by the marginal pitcher Tuesday night. Snell just isn't throwing as well as his low ERA and coaches would lead you to believe.