Richard Rodriguez Is Starting To Settle In For The Pittsburgh Pirates

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 20: Richard Rodriguez #48 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the sixth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 20, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 20: Richard Rodriguez #48 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the sixth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 20, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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One of the Pittsburgh Pirates key relievers for 3019 is starting to round into form

Prior to the start of the 2019 season the Pittsburgh Pirates appeared primed to have one of the best bullpens in the National League. A big reason for this was right-handed reliever Richard Rodriguez.

Rodriguez got off to a slow start this season. In his first two outings he allowed a pair of home runs, two walks, and 4 runs (3 earned) in 1 innings of work. Since then, however, Rodriguez has been shutdown for the Pirates.

The 2018 season was a breakout campaign for Rodriguez. In 69 1/3 innings pitched Rodriguez owned a 2.47 ERA, 2.60 FIP, a 6.8% walk rate, and a 24.7% strikeout rate. All of this came despite the righty failing to make the team’s Opening Day roster.

His 2018 performance made him become one of Clint Hurdle‘s key high leverage situation pitchers. He entered 2019 in this role. His role only grew when Kyle Crick was placed on the 10-day injured list last week.

Without Crick, Rodriguez’s importance and role only grew. Unfortunately, he got off to a slow start to the 2019 season. In his first two outings this season Rodriguez logged just 1 inning pitched while allowing a pair of home runs and 4 runs, 3 of which were earned. The Pirates lost both of these games, blowing a tie game in the first and a lead in the second.

Since these first two outings, however, Rodriguez has been settling into his role.

In his last five outings, Rodriguez has not been scored on. In these games he has not allowed a hit while walking two and striking out five in 5 innings of work. This included a Houdini Act on Friday night.

Friday night at Nationals Park, Rodriguez took over in the bottom of the 7th inning with one out an the Pirate trailing. The situation he inherited was a runner on third base with just one out. With a little defensive help from Pablo Reyes, Rich Rod pitched out of the situation without allowing a run. This proved to be vital in the Pirates 6-3 extra innings victory.

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Rodriguez getting back on track is vital for the Pirates. It is especially vital with Crick on the IL. After hsi last five outings, Rodriguez, once again, appears to be emerging as a vital high leverage situation pitcher for the Pirates.

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