Pirates home stand report card for May 26-31

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Edgar Santana
Feb 19, 2017; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Edgar Santana (74) pose for a photo for photo day at Pirate City. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /


Due to the Mets offense being hot and the Pirates not, Friday night’s contest was already looking bleak when Clint Hurdle called on the ‘pen with two outs in the fifth. The relievers did little to help things. Johnny Barbato- who has no place on the 25 man roster, allowed three runs over two innings, and life was easy for the New York Mets on this night.

The bullpen got it together Saturday. After another underwhelming starting pitching effort, Hurdle called on Wade LeBlanc to relieve Cole in the top of the sixth. As usual, LeBlanc did his job, going two innings and not allowing a single runner to reach base. From there, Juan Nicasio, Felipe Rivero and Tony Watson kept New York off the board for three innings, giving the offense an opportunity to win the ballgame, which they cashed in.

Sunday was similar to Friday. Just as Kuhl had done two nights prior, Tyler Glasnow left the game with his team trailing 5-1. Once again, the bullpen did little to help, as Jhan Marinez allowed two runs in his two innings of work.

Monday, Watson blew his second consecutive save opportunity, allowing a two-run shot to Chris Iannetta, tying the game at three. Although the Pirates went on to win the game, it is clear that Watson is not the best option to close, and Rivero would gladly take that position if given the opportunity.

Thanks to Supernova, the relievers didn’t do a whole lot Tuesday night. Wednesday afternoon was a different story. It started in the top of the sixth, when Daniel Hudson’s frustrating season continued, as he allowed two runs to give Arizona a 4-2 lead.

After that, LeBlanc, Nicasio, Rivero and Watson held the Diamondbacks off the board for five innings. Things went south after that, as the great Barbato allowed a solo shot to Nick Ahmed, giving Arizona a 5-4 lead in the 11th. Although Mercer would tie it, and Marinez would fight valiantly, it would not be enough, as one more run from the D-Backs in the 14th proved to be the nail in the coffin.

Overall, it was not a banner week for the Bucco bullpen. Granted, aside from Wednesday, the relievers didn’t play a prominent role in any of the four losses. Nonetheless, it was a slow week for the typically reliable Bucco relievers, and it will be interesting to see if the team does anything to fix it’s somewhat concerning middle relief. LeBlanc, Nicasio, Rivero and Watson (at times) are all solid, but it’d be good to have a little more depth.

Grade: C-