As with the hitters, the Pirates in the World Series will be facing a team with a few outstanding pitchers. The Bucs themselves, though, may have more depth.
The pitching staffs are close to evenly matched. The Senators’ staff had the second-best team ERA in the majors, at 3.70. The Pirates were third at 3.87. The Pirates gave up more hits, but Washington’s staff walked a full batter per game more than the Pirates’.
The AL champions’ staff is led by two veteran 20-game winners, 36-year-old Shamokin, PA, native Stan Coveleskie, and the great Walter Johnson, now 37. Coveleskie went 20-5, 2.84, and led Washington in innings pitched. He’s had five 20-win seasons and has won 194 games. Johnson doesn’t carry the huge burdens he did earlier in his career, but he still went 20-7, 3.07, and threw 229 innings. The Big Train has won 397 games and, next year, should become the only pitcher other than Cy Young to reach 400 wins. And that’s in spite of spending most of his career pitching for mediocre Washington teams. Aside from his pitching, Johnson also batted .433 and occasionally appeared as a pinch hitter.
Washington had three other key pitchers during the regular season. Lefty Dutch Ruether went 18-7, 3.87, although he showed some signs of wearing down late in the season. Always a capable hitter, Ruether frequently pinch hit for manager Bucky Harris and batted .333. Another lefty, Tom Zachary, led the Senators in starts, but had less success than the others, going 12-15, 3.85.
Washington also possesses a rarity in today’s game, a relief ace. Fred “Firpo” Marberry appeared in 55 games without starting a single one. Marberry went 9-5, 3.47, and frequently took the mound late in games to protect leads.
One final pitcher, Alex Ferguson, played a key role for the Senators after they acquired him in mid-August to shore up their tiring veterans. A journeyman who pitched very badly earlier this year for the Red Sox and Yankees, Ferguson made six starts and one relief appearance for Washington and went 5-1, 3.25.
The Pirates lack the star power of Johnson and Coveleskie, but they have a lot of depth. Five of their pitchers won 15 games or more, and all five threw at least 207 innings. There’s some concern with their ace, though. Lee “Specs” Meadows (19-10, 3.67) has thrown only one inning in the last three weeks and is rumored to have shoulder problems. He will, however, face Johnson in the Series opener.
Down the stretch, the Bucs’ best pitchers have been Ray Kremer (17-8, 3.69) and Vic Aldridge (15-7, 3.63). Since the beginning of August, Kremer has gone 9-1. Aldridge won eight straight starts before losing his last game of the regular season. He had a 2.41 ERA in August and September combined.
The Pirates’ other two key pitchers have been “Jughandle Johnny” Morrison (17-14, 3.88) and Emil Yde (17-9, 4.13). Morrison made 26 starts, but pitches in relief frequently as well, 18 times in all. Yde had a stretch of 15 wins in 16 decisions, including 11 in a row. He lost four straight in September, though, before winning his last two.
The Pirates also can call on veterans Red Oldham and Tom Sheehan, as well as Babe Adams. The 43-year-old Adams will be making his first trip to the World Series since he won three games in the 1909 Series.