Starting pitching – the good
Musgrove couldn’t have had a much better start to his Pirates career. The former Houston Astro pitched seven shutout innings Friday night– and got his first Major League hit as well– to lead the Bucs to a much needed 8-1 win over the Cardinals. Last night, he allowed just one run over seven innings, leading the Bucs to another much needed win, this time by a score of 2-1, and also provided a spark with his hard slide on Cubs second baseman Javy Baez.
Sunday afternoon, Jameson Taillon finally pitched like the Pirates need him to. For six innings, Taillon was in control, using his slider effectively. Although the bullpen ultimately failed him, Sunday can still serve as a launching pad for the Pirates’ most important starter.
Starting pitching – the bad
Trevor Williams looks like he might be coming back down to earth, and the question of who will emerge as the anchor of this staff remains unanswered. The problem with the Pirates starting rotation is that while nobody, with the possible exception of Ivan Nova, has been particularly bad this season, by the same token, no one on the staff has stepped up as “the man”.
Taillon’s last start was encouraging, and Musgrove and rookie Nick Kingham could turn out to be studs. For right now, however, as hard as the bullpen has been trying lately, the starting rotation is the weak point of this team. While this homestand wasn’t awful from a starting pitching standpoint, the staff didn’t exactly turn the corner, either