Eric noted in last night's game recap that J.J. Putz's control has been awful this season. A BB/9 ratio of 6.04 would be totally unacceptable from even a replacement level pitcher, much less a supposed "relief ace" being paid $5 million. Putz spent yesterday afternoon working on his delivery, presumably to improve his control. The work paid off, as all of his pitches last night except 1 were in the strike zone, not including the intentional walk. This sounds like progress, until you see exactly where in the strike zone these pitches were:
This plot demonstrates awful command, which is the ability to throw a pitch in a desired spot in the strike zone. Command differs from control, which is simply the ability to throw strikes regardless of location within the strike zone. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to a batter when he hits a good pitch hard, but that is not the case here. Putz was laying belt high fastballs down the heart of the plate. Even a terrible offensive team like the Pirates will take advantage of such mistakes. Something is wrong with Putz, be it injury, confidence, or decline in ability. It's been said numerous times already, but until he works out his issues the only pitcher he should be higher than on the depth chart is Sean Green.