Pittsburgh Pirates road trip report card for week of May 22-25

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May 25, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer (10) and second baseman Adam Frazier (26) celebrate after a game against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
May 25, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer (10) and second baseman Adam Frazier (26) celebrate after a game against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /
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May 14, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Tony Watson (44) throws in the tenth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
May 14, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Tony Watson (44) throws in the tenth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /

The bullpen

After a somewhat quiet series opener, the bullpen did not do its job Tuesday night, as it could not hold a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning or a 5-4 lead in the ninth. The Pirate relievers have been excellent all year long, so it being the main reason for a loss has been a rarity, but that was certainly the case Tuesday.

The ‘pen also struggled the next night, as the usually dominant Juan Nicasio coughed up a 3-1 lead in the sixth. Johnny Barbato allowed another in the eighth to expand Atlanta’s lead to 5-3. Although the Bucs came back to win, it was not an exceptional effort for the bullpen.

Thursday was an easy day, as the bullpen worked just 2/3 of an inning thanks to the excellence of Mr. Nova.

Overall, the bullpen has had better weeks. They lost the Pirates one game in Atlanta and almost lost another, so the overall impression of their performance should be a negative one. The Bucco relievers have been excellent for most of the season, so it’s ok to cut them some slack, and there is no cause for long-term concern, and probably won’t be for awhile.

Grade: C-

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