The bullpen was excellent
Clay Holmes replaced Musgrove on Thursday night and struggled. In 2 innings pitched he allowed 3 runs and six base runners. Dovydas Neverauskas followed and allowed 5 runs in his lone inning of work. After this, the bullpen went into lock down mode.
The rest of the series, the bullpen allowed just 1 run in 12 1/3 innings pitched. That lone run was allowed by DuRapau in just the second inning of his career.
Excellent work by the bullpen was a major reason why the Pirates were victorious in the latter three games of the series. Kyle Crick and Felipe Vazquez combined to preserve a 1 run lead on Friday. On Saturday, those two teamed up with Rodriguez and Liriano to do the same.
Sunday afternoon, the bullpen may have been the biggest reason the Pirates won. DuRapau, Chris Stratton, Rodriguez, and Liriano combined to allow three hits, a walk, and struck out two in 5 1/3 scoreless innings of work.
This season the Pirate bullpen has dealt with adversity. There has been ineffective pitching, as well as injuries to Keone Kela and Nick Burdi. Despite all of this, the team’s bullpen still appears to be rounding into shape.
Additionally, the two relievers who struggled this weekend – Holmes and Neverauskas – are not key members of the bullpen. Neverauskas was optioned back to Triple-A on Sunday to make room for the newly acquired Stratton. Odds are, Holmes will join him when Chris Archer rejoins the starting rotation on Wednesday.