Pittsburgh Pirates: Road Trip Report Card #1
Bullpen Grade: B
The only glaring negative of the bullpen on this road trip was on April 13 in Boston, when they could not hold a 3-1 lead in the eighth inning. Even that mishap had a lot to do with some defensive mistakes.
Much like the starting pitching, there isn’t a lot to complain about regarding the bullpen so far. Tony Watson is perfect in the closer role to this point. Felipe Rivero is developing into a dominant set-up man, and Daniel Hudson looks like he could be locked in as the seventh-inning guy.
My big concern regarding the ‘pen is what will happen on nights where the starters are not as sharp as they have been, as the Pirates middle relief is still unproven. However, the combination of solid starting pitching and lights out back-end of the bullpen has put the Pirate’s pen in solid overall shape. However, the Pirates starting pitching’s hot run can’t last forever, so time will tell if the weakness of the middle relief will end up hurting this team a significant amount.
In any case, this road trip was all about the back end, and they sure got the job done. They were solid, and there is no reason to think that they won’t be an asset as the season goes on.