Aside from current Indianapolis Indian Richard Rodriguez’s home run demons costing the Pirates this past Thursday’s game in San Diego, there really isn’t much negative to say about the ‘pen.
Sure, the relievers got tagged quite a bit in blowout losses to the Cardinals and Diamondbacks, but those games were lost causes due to the starters outing regardless. In games that the Pirates had a chance to win, aside from Friday’s blip, the ‘pen did its job.
In St. Louis, the relievers finished great starts from Williams and Lyles on Friday and Saturday and cleaned up Brault’s mess Sunday. In the last game of the stretch, the relievers shut the Padres down after Musgrove lost control in the seventh, and this was less than 24 hours after the bullpen essentially pitched an entire game as the Pirates used “the opener” for the first time.
It wasn’t all milk and honey. Rodriguez’s ineptitude earning him a demotion is a bummer, but the debuts DuRapu and Geoff Hartlieb will make up for it if they can build off promising starts to their MLB careers.
There are still question marks regarding the Bucco relief unit, but with Kyle Crick and Felipe Vazquez locking down the 8th and 9th, Francisco Liriano throwing like it’s 2013 and some rookies looking to make an impact, there is potential on the horizon, and Keone Kela will help things as well whenever he is ready to come off the shelf.