Pittsburgh Pirates: Steven Brault has been Struggling

Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

Tonight the Pittsburgh Pirates will be sending left-handed pitcher Steven Brault to the mound against Jake Arrieta and the Chicago Cubs.  Brault is getting the spot start for Gerrit Cole. Let’s analyze Brault’s last month of pitching in Triple-A.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are calling up left-handed pitching prospect Steven Brault to start against the Chicago Cubs.  Brault will be making his third big league start.  So far in his first two starts, Brault has pitched okay.  He owns a solid 3.60 earned run average, but his numbers could be worse.  In his 10 innings pitched he has walked five batters, has a batting average against of .289, and a WHIP of 1.60.  Those secondary numbers suggest that he has not done a great job of limiting base runners.  In turn, his earned run average could be a lot worse.

With that, Steven Brault has not been very effective at Triple-A over the last month.

His earned run average has jumped a full point.  Over his last five starts he has not recorded a win and has been tagged with three losses.  In those games he has pitched just 21 innings which averages out to be 4.2 innings pitched per start.  In those starts he had two starts that he did not get out of the third inning.  His numbers have not been very good in those starts obviously.  He has given up 19 earned runs.  This has been the worst stretch of his career.

What has led to Steven Brault’s struggles?

First and foremost his command.  The Pittsburgh Pirates were drawn to Steven Brault because he has always shown strong command.  When Brault loses his command he gets himself in trouble, especially because he does not have overpowering stuff.  In his 21 innings pitched this month he has walked 13 batters, or 5.65 batters per nine innings pitched.  That number is scary, and not a number you want to see from any pitcher!

Some pitchers can get away with walks, because they have strikeout stuff, see Tyler Glasnow.  However, Brault is giving away to many free passes, causing him to have to challenge hitters, and they are making him pay.  

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If Brault wants to have success tonight he is going to have to flip the switch.

Brault is going to need to pitch aggressive early in the count and get ahead.  The Cubs are a fantastic offensive team.  They not only can hit, but they can make pitchers pay for falling behind in the count.  Steven Brault is a really nice pitching prospect.  He has struggled recently, but by no means it represents him.  If Brault works ahead he should pitch decent tonight.  Now, if Brault starts to pile up pitches early in the game the Pittsburgh Pirates could be in trouble. We all know that it is not a good thing when the Pittsburgh Pirates fall behind early against Jake Arrieta.