Williams’ return to the mound gave the starting rotation a boost, and it looks like a return to form by Richard Rodriguez will do the same for the relievers.
Rodriguez was one of the Pirates’ biggest disappointments for the first two months of 2019, but after a vacation to the Hoosier state, the team’s top middle reliever seems to have found the form that made him so effective last season.
Rich Rod hasn’t allowed a run over 10 appearances in June, and this past week, was particularly impressive, striking out six over 3.2 scoreless frames.
The rest of the bullpen has been solid for the most part. Felipe Vazquez does Felipe Vazquez things, and Kyle Crick is still getting the ball to the dominant closer with the lead intact, although he made things interesting in Friday and Saturday’s games.
A developing concern with the ‘pen is Francisco Liriano. The left-hander has been one of the Pirates best stories in 2019, but he had a rough go of it this weekend, giving up a combined four earned runs in appearances Saturday and Sunday. These things happen, and it’s not worth worrying about yet, but the Bucs can’t afford to have Frankie struggling for an extended period.
Overall, the bullpen is coming together, and with Keone Kela due to come back in early July, there’s reason to believe things will only go up from here.