Pittsburgh Pirates Grapefruit League Game 18: 5th Starter Battle Rages On
Two of the four pitchers competing for the final spot in the Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation will take the mound against the Atlanta Braves on Monday afternoon
Following a 6-5 loss against the New York Yankees on Sunday, the Pittsburgh Pirates now own a 7-9-1 record in Grapefruit League play. This afternoon, the Pittsburgh Pirates will travel to Lake Buena Vista to play the Atlanta Braves in the 18th game of their Grapefruit League schedule. In game 18, a pair of pitchers battling for the final spot in the team’s rotation will pitch.
Both right-handed pitcher Nick Kingham and lefty Steven Brault are scheduled to pitch for the Pirates on Monday afternoon. Kingham and Brault are competing with righties Jordan Lyles and Rookie Davis for the fifth and final spot in the Pirates’ starting rotation.
While none of the pitchers competing for the final spot in the rotation have pitched well enough to seize the job, Kingham has pitched the best of the bunch thus far. Although, this is not saying much. In his first three games this spring he has allowed five runs on 10 hits, two home runs, and two walks in 9 innings of work.
The overall numbers on Kingham do not look great, but all five runs and both home runs he’s allowed came in his second start of the spring. In his other two outings he has allowed just five hits in 6 scoreless innings of work. Kingham’s slider has also started to look like a plus pitch this spring.
As for Brault, spring has not gone well. In 6 innings pitched across three games he has issued four walks and has struck out five. He’s allowed a home run, nine hits, and six earned runs. The early returns on his new delivery, which was designed to help him better his control, have not been what Brault or the Pirates were hoping for.
Right-handed reliever Dovydas Neverauskas is also scheduled to pitch on Monday afternoon. Neverauskas is competing for a spot in the Pirate bullpen as he looks to crack the Opening Day roster for a second consecutive season. So far this spring Neverauskas has pitched to a 4.26 ERA while allowing seven hits, issuing zero walks, and striking out 10 in 6 1/3 innings pitched. Monday’s game will mark the first time this spring that the Lithuanian righty has pitched in back-to-back days.
First pitch from Champion Stadium is scheduled for 1:05 PM. You can listen to the game on pirates.com, as well as the MLB At Bat App.