The Pirate Bullpen
While 2020 has not witnessed the normal ebbs and flows of a full 162 game MLB season, it seems like the Pirate bullpen has. This continued over the weekend against the Brewers.
Friday night was a good night for the Pirate bullpen. In relief of Kuhl, Sam Howard pitched 2/3 of a scoreless inning and Geoff Hartlieb followed 1.1 scoreless innings of work. Both Howard and Hartlieb continue to pitch their way into becoming key cogs in the Pirate bullpen.
While Richard Rodriguez allowed a lead off home run in the 8th inning, he retired the next three batters. When Keone Kela exited the game after facing just two batters in the 9th inning, Tyler Bashlor retired all three batters he faced in the 9th to close out the Pirate win.
Saturday afternoon, things were hairy for the bullpen. Dovydas Neveraukas allowed 3 runs in the 7th inning, and Nick Mears allowed another while battling control issues in the 9th. In 4 innings of work, the Pirate bullpen allowed 4 runs on three hits, a home run, a hit batter, and four walks. Luckily, with the Pirate offense plating 12 runs on Saturday afternoon, the lackluster bullpen performance did not matter.
Sunday afternoon the bullpen was, overall, effective. Hartlieb, Howard, Nik Turley, Chris Stratton, and Rodriguez all pitched in relief of Brubaker. Hartlieb allowed a 2-run home run in 1.1 innings pitched, but he did flip a double play ball when he inherited a runner on first with no one out in the 5th inning. Howard loaded the bases after replacing Hartlieb, but did not allow a run. Turley, Stratton and Rodriguez combined to strikeout four batters in 3 perfect innings of relief.
While the bullpen struggled some on Saturday and flirted with disaster at times on Sunday, overall, it was a good weekend for the Pirate bullpen. While things have not been perfect, the Pirate bullpen has done a nice job of piecing things together this season.