3 Takeaways From Pittsburgh Pirates Opening Series In Cincinnati

CINCINNATI, OH - MARCH 31: Keone Kela #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with Francisco Cervelli #29 after striking out the final batter in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on March 31, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Pirates won 5-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - MARCH 31: Keone Kela #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with Francisco Cervelli #29 after striking out the final batter in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on March 31, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Pirates won 5-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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CINCINNATI, OH – MARCH 31: Trevor Williams #34 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on March 31, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Trevor Williams continues to pitch angry

Early on last season Trevor Williams struggled. After a nine start stretch that saw him allow 37 runs in 42 innings pitched, the Pirate righty put a foot down. Tired of, as he called it, “being embarrassed” Williams began to pitch angry.

Starting on June 18th, Williams put together a spectacular 17 start stretch to finish his 2018 campaign. In his final 17 starts he posted a 2.14 ERA and a 3.54 FIP in 96 2/3 innings pitched. He also went on to have a Major League best 10 starts of at least 6 innings pitched and zero runs allowed. In his 2019 season debut on Sunday, Williams continued to pitch angry.

There was no better example of this than the final batter Williams faced.

In the bottom of the 6th inning with the Pirates leading 3-0, newly acquired slugger Yasiel Puig stepped to the plate for the Reds. This was the first time all day that Williams had faced any sort of adversity, and, what did he do? Attack.

Williams immediately pumped two fastballs into the strike zone to get ahead of Puig 0-2. He then got Puig to whiff for his sixth and final strikeout of the game, capping off 6 scoreless, brilliant innings of work.

Prior to the start of the regular season MLB Network analyst Billy Ripken picked Williams to win the National League Cy Young Award. If Williams continues to pitch the way he has his last 18 starts, Ripken’s pick just may come to fruition.

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