In three of the five games on this homestand, the Pirates ‘pen was dealt a crappy hand. Only Tuesday night, however, did the relievers make the situation any better.
Musgrove only went 2.2 innings in his start Friday. After that, four Pirates relievers combined to give up seven runs in a contest that was already out of reach. Brault only went four innings in Tuesday’s series opener against the Rangers. The ‘pen got to work in the fifth with a one-run lead, and despite giving up two runs in the seventh, they didn’t let it slip away, and the Bucs got a feel-good win as a result.
Wednesday’s situation was similar for the ‘pen, as Kingham followed in Brault’s footsteps by only tossing four. The relievers held their own until the eighth when Michael Feliz walked three and gave up a grand slam in his masterful 2/3 of an inning. However, neither Brault nor Kingham could have been expected to give the team much more than they did. In a way, this set the ‘pen up for failure in these two games.
With Keone Kela on the injured list and Nick Burdi out for a while, Pirates relievers not named Vazquez or Crick need to step up. Francisco Liriano has done so, Feliz has shown flashes, and the jury is still out on Richard Rodriguez. If the Pirates have a lead after the seventh inning, they’ll will be in stable condition more often than not. Anything that happens before the seventh, however, is up for grabs. The Bucs lack consistency from most of their relievers, and that’s a problem.