Has the clock struck midnight on Steven Brault?
From May 25th through September 1st Steven Brault pitched in 14 games with 13 of them being starts. During this stretch not only did Brault pitch the best baseball of his MLB career, he was also the Pirates best starting pitcher.
While a stint on the injured list impacted this stretch, Brault owned a 2.75 ERA and a 3.58 FIP in 75 1/3 innings of work during this 14 game stretch. He allowed just four home runs, he walked 8.8% of batters faced, struck out 18.8%, and induced soft contact 21.4% of the time. It appeared that Brault was finally turning a corner as a MLB pitcher.
Well, in his last two starts, Brault has looked less like that pitcher and more like the pitcher he was during the first three years of his MLB career.
After allowing 10 runs in a 2 2/3 inning start in Friday’s series opening loss, Brault has now allowed 16 runs, 15 earned, in 8 innings pitched his last two starts. In these 8 innings of work he’s allowed six home runs, including a Pirate single game record tying five in Friday’s start, he has walked five batters, hit a batter, thrown two wild pitches, and struck out just four. Not good, folks!
Odds are Brault is closer to the pitcher that has gotten shelled in his last two starts than the pitcher that was masterful for a 14 game stretch earlier this season. This is due to his track record from 2016 – 2018 leaving a lot to be desired. While Brault once appeared to have a starting rotation spot all but locked up for 2020, he is pitching his way into being on the outside looking in entering Spring Training.