Pittsburgh Pirates: Grading Series Loss Against the Tigers

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PITTSBURGH, PA – AUGUST 09: Steven Brault #43 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch in the first inning during the game against the Detroit Tigers at PNC Park on August 9, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – AUGUST 09: Steven Brault #43 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch in the first inning during the game against the Detroit Tigers at PNC Park on August 9, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

The Bullpen

When Brault and the bullpen went to work Friday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates led 4-1. This is where the pitching started to go south. In 7 innings pitched during Friday night’s wild 17-13 extra inning loss, the Pirate ‘pen allowed 16 runs on 16 hits and five walks. Awful does not even begin to do that performance justice.

Saturday afternoon, the bullpen improved but still struggled some. Nick Mears, Sam Howard and Yacksel Rios combined to allow 2 runs on three hits and three walks in 3 innings of work. This included Mears allowing an inherited run to score.

In Sunday’s series finale, the bullpen was the star of the day for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Scheduled starting pitcher Joe Musgrove was scratched due to an ankle issue, making it a bullpen game for the Pirates.

Steven Brault started and bounced back from Friday’s disaster by pitching 2 scoreless innings. Chris Stratton allowed just 1 run in 3 innings of work. Geoff Hartlieb and Nik Turley each pitched a scoreless inning, and Richard Rodriguez allowed a run in 2 innings of work. The run he allowed was a fluky one as the only reason the Tigers had a runner in scoring position was due to Rodriguez’s spike getting stuck in the dirt leading to a wild pitch. All in all, the Pirate bullpen allowed 2 runs on four hits, two walks and 12 strikeouts in 9 innings of work on Sunday.

The Verdict

The bullpen was atrocious in the first game of series and improved to just being bad in the second game. While the bullpen was the star of Sunday’s finale for the Pittsburgh Pirates, it was not enough to give them a good overall grade for the series.

Grade: C