Jason Grilli just racked up his twenty-first save of the year, finishing off a classic pitcher’s duel that went eleven innings with the Tigers, with the Pirates winning 1-0 thanks to a Neil Walker home run. Grilli didn’t just get the save, and he didn’t just face the back end of an average lineup. No, Grilli faced Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera, and Prince Fielder to finish the game off for the Pirates.
Hunter? Ugly checked swing on a breaking ball. Sit down. Cabrera? He looked like he was trying to hit a sand wedge, but it turned out this is baseball, and Grilli’s curveball made baseball’s best hitter look foolish. Fielder? After a drawn out at-bat that included several fouled off pitches with a full count, Grilli blew a high and inside fastball past Fielder like he was a JuCo player. Good morning, good evening, good night.
It’s hard to put to words just how good Jason Grilli has been for the Pirates. After spending a long time making his decision on the free agent market this year, Grilli made up his mind to sign with the Pirates, and boy are we glad that he did. Grilli’s stat line this season looks like this: twenty-one saves in twenty-one chances, ERA of 1.19, 4.4 H/9, 2.0 BB/9, a WHIP of 0.076, and an obscene 13.5 K/9.
Grilli has had an incredible season so far, it’s been genuinely hard to believe how good he’s been. He’s on pace to have a legitimate shot at breaking the MLB single season saves record, after being an “Iron Pig” two years ago, now he’s the Pirates closer, and has made Pirates fans all but forget about former closer Joel Hanrahan with the way he’s pitched so far this season. The Pirates bullpen has been a treasure trove this season, but clearly Grilli is the crown jewel.