After a quiet series opener, the ‘pen was busy Tuesday night, pitching four innings. Although Edgar Santana was shaky, getting just one out in the sixth inning, the rest of the boys picked him up. Tony Watson, Daniel Hudson, Juan Nicasio and Felipe Rivero shut down the Brewers for the next 3.2 frames. Rivero contributed a routine seven pitches in his appearance. As for Santana, he continues to show that he has the stuff to be in the major leagues. It’s just a matter of execution, and I think with time, he will become a major player in this bullpen.
As mentioned above, Wednesday was not a fun night for the relievers. After Williams had departed, Watson came on to put out the fire. He did his job, getting the two men he had faced before Hurdle called on Hudson to face fellow right-hander Domingo Santana. That decision did not pan out. Santana hit a two-run bomb, and the Pirates lost the game.
After working just one inning in the series finale with the Brewers, the ‘pen came up big in the series opener with the Cards. Although Hudson’s struggles continued, as he allowed a home run to Paul DeJong to give St. Louis a 3-2 lead, and Nicasio put runners at the corners in the next frame, Rivero came to the rescue. He got out of the jam in the eighth, pitched a scoreless ninth, and the Bucs escaped with the W.
Thanks to Cole, Saturday night was an easy one for the ‘pen. The series finale would not be so simple. After five “meh” innings from Kuhl, the relievers were not able to make things any better. Nicasio allowed four runs (three earned), and the Bucs lost the game.
It is evident that the bullpen is an issue. Felipe Rivero aside, it’s hard to feel good about any of these relievers. The bullpen turned what could have been a 6-1 road trip into a less impressive 4-3. This is an issue that needs to be addressed, as the days of deep and dominant Bucco bullpens are not present at the moment.