A struggling Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen has received a big boost
In 2018 the Pittsburgh Pirates owned a 66-3 record when they led after 7 innings. A big reason for this was due to the emergence of righty Kyle Crick as a shutdown reliever.
So far in 2019, the team is just 6-3 when leading after 7 innings. A big reason the team has already matched their loss total from 2018 when leading after 7 innings is due to Crick spending time on the injured list. However, Crick is now healthy and ready to give a struggling Pirate bullpen a much needed boost.
Crick was placed on the IL, retroactive to April 4th, with right triceps tightness on April 5th. Prior to going on the IL Crick had faced six batters this season. He retired all six, and had already racked up three strikeouts.
Closer Felipe Vazquez has been dominant to start the season, and Rule 5 pick Nick Burdi is starting to emerge as an option for high leverage situations. Set up men Keone Kela and Richard Rodriguez are off to slow starts, however, which is why getting Crick back will provide a boost.
In 2018 Crick owned a 2.39 ERA, 3.14 FIP, and a 25.5% strikeout rate in 60 1/3 innings pitched. Getting Crick back and pitching at a level anywhere near this well will lengthen the Pirate bullpen and make Clint Hurdle‘s job a lot easier.
Until Kela and Rodriguez get over their early season struggles, expect to see a lot of Crick in high leverage situations. He may even become the team’s primary 8th inning man, at least for the time being.
To make room for Crick on the 25-man roster utility infielder Kevin Kramer was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Kramer was recalled last week when Kevin Newman was placed on the IL. Due to the team having the DH this week in Detroit, the Bucs will only be short on the bench until Newman is eligible to return from the IL on Sunday. Kramer did not record an at bat while with the Pirates.