Tuesday windup: Even Pharrell Williams is Happ-y
When GM Neal Huntington responded within hours of A.J. Burnett’s injury by acquiring J.A. Happ from Seattle, Pirates fans were disillusioned.
“That the best they could do?” was the overall sentiment.
Following Happ’s Pirates debut, they became downright hostile. The Cubs spanked the lefty for nine hits and four runs in 4 1/3 innings on Aug. 4, as he looked positively helpless.
Flash forward and, of course, Happ tonight can further cement his standing as one of the best Trade Deadline pick-ups ever. If not for David Price and his 8-1 record with the Blue Jays, Happ would even lead the conversation about this summer’s best acquisitions.
In seven starts since that first one, not only does Happ have a 1.30 ERA while going 5-1, but the only loss was a 2-1 squeaker to the Cubs.
That makes him another great Jim Benedict-Huntington find, and Ray Searage makeover. However, Clint Hurdle goes out of his way to stress that Happ didn’t just remember how to pitch when he donned Black & Gold.
“We continue to lose sight of how he was pitching in the first half,” Hurdle says, citing Happ’s first 11 starts for the Mariners, of which he lost only one while posting a 3.31 ERA.
From that point on until his trade, Happ went 1-5 with a 6.65 ERA.
“Sometimes a change of scenery can give a guy a shot in the arm,” Hurdle says. “He was coming from a team that was being challenged [translation: losing a lot] to a team in a pennant race. You don’t want to be a weak link, and that gets you to reacquire your focus. He knows he’s being counted on. He has been, and he’s showed up well.”
In trying to continue to put on a show tonight, Happ gets a sidebar split: He must deal with pitchers’ torture chamber, Coors Field, but gets to face a Rockies club an MLB-worst 9-28 against lefty starters.