Pittsburgh Pirates: Five Best Relief Pitchers in Franchise History

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PITTSBURGH – JULY 1976: Relief pitcher Dave Giusti #31 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during a Major League Baseball game at Three Rivers Stadium in July 1976 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH – JULY 1976: Relief pitcher Dave Giusti #31 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during a Major League Baseball game at Three Rivers Stadium in July 1976 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) /

Dave Giusti

Who was Hernandez setting up in the 1970s? well it was the pitcher in our number four spot – Dave Giusti.

Giusti was the Pittsburgh Pirates closer from 1970 to 1976. The right-hander was originally a starter with the Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals where, overall, he did fairly well. But it would be as the 9th inning man for the Pirates in the 70s where he would thrive.

From ‘70-’76, Dave Giusti had a 2.98 ERA, 3.23 FIP and 1.30 WHIP across 604 innings as a relief pitcher. He did have three starts sprinkled in those seven seasons, but these were the innings he worked solely as a relief pitcher.

Giusti didn’t have big strikeout, or walk numbers. He had a 16.6% strikeout rate and 9.2% walk rate. However, he was great at keeping the ball in the yard. Giusti allowed a HR/9 of just 0.51. That’s the 12th lowest among all Pirates relief pitchers with at least 150 innings pitched.

The closer wasn’t just good because of the era. He had an 83 ERA-, a 123 ERA+, and 92 FIP-. Those are all above the league averages of the time. Overall, Giusti had 133 saves with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the 4th most in franchise history.

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