It appears that help is on the way for a much maligned, and struggling, Pittsburgh Pirates pitching staff.
At this point, saying that the Pittsburgh Pirates pitching staff has struggled with injuries/ineffectiveness would make you sound like a broken record. Thankfully, the team appears to be on the cusp of getting two of their injured pitchers back.
After pitching in a simulated game over the weekend, Stratton pitched for the Indianapolis Indians on Tuesday night. In 2 innings of work he allowed a single, a solo home run, he did not walk a batter, and he struck out a pair.
Stratton was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in early May after being designated for assignment. Prior to going on the injured list, Stratton appeared in just four games for the Pirates. In those four games he allowed 5 runs on 12 hits, two walks, two home runs, and eight strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings pitched.
Most of the damage done against Stratton came in the final inning of a 4 inning outing against the Diamondbacks on May 15th. In the final of those 4 innings, he 4 runs which included a pair of home runs. Outside of this inning, Stratton has pitched well as a Pirate.
Additionally, his slider spin rate has been among the best in the Majors. This will make him an intriguing bullpen arm when he returns. Plus, let’s be honest, can he really be worse than what the Pirates have been getting from their ‘pen?
Even more importantly, starting pitcher Trevor Williams will make a rehab start with the Indians on Thursday. Prior to going on the IL Williams owned a 3.33 ERA and a 3.33 FIP in 54 innings pitched (9 starts) this season. Williams has quietly become one of the best starting pitchers in the NL, getting him back in the fold will be a huge boost to a struggling Pirate starting rotation.
Like Stratton, Williams pitched in a simulated game over the weekend. If all goes well in his rehab start on Thursday, then he should be set to rejoin the starting rotation during next week’s home stand.