Grading Out The Pirate Bullpen
Things started poorly for the Pittsburgh Pirates and their bullpen against the Cubs. In game one, Austin Davis allowed a run in his inning of work. This, however, came after he got the final out of the 7th inning and stranded the runner he inheirted from Brubaker.
Blake Cederlind then entered the game for his second MLB outing and failed to retire a batter. In the process, Cederlind allowed three hits, walked a pair and surrendered 2 runs. Additionally, the run Daivs was charged with was an inherited runner Cederlind failed to strand.
Nick Tropeano would retire the final four Cub batters of the night. This included a strikeout.
The struggles continued for the bullpen in the second game of the series. Chris Stratton allowed a two-out single in the 8th inning and was lifted for Sam Howard. With the Pittsburgh Pirates leading 2-0, Howard allowed a 2-run home run to Anthony Rizzo. Richard Rodriguez then pitched a scoreless 9th inning before the Pirates walked it off with a Jacob Stallings in the bottom half of the inning.
The rest of the series, the Pirate bullpen was terrific. In 5.1 innings pitched in the rest of the series, Pirate relievers allowed just two hits, they issued two walks, struck out eight, and did not allow a run. This included 3.1 scoreless innings of work in a close knit 2-1 victory in game three.
Outside of Cederlind in game one and Howard in game two, the Pirate bullpen had a strong series. However, Cederlind’s meltdown let game one get out of hand and Howard’s struggles nearly cost the team game two. This is why the grade for the series isn’t a bit higher.