Pirates reliever Jose Hernandez earns first career save

Washington Nationals v Pittsburgh Pirates
Washington Nationals v Pittsburgh Pirates / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

The Pittsburgh Pirates secured a victory against the Miami Marlins on Opening Day, a moment worthy of celebration and optimism for fans. Despite challenges such as leaving runners on base and facing outs on the basepaths, the win signifies resilience and potential for the team. The bullpen had to be relied on after Mitch Keller battled his way into the 6th inning while conceding 5 total runs.

Additionally, amidst the game's dynamics, an intriguing development unfolded for the Pirates. Following Keller's departure in the sixth inning, the team relied on six relievers to maintain their lead. Notably, in the final innings, they turned to Jose Hernandez, a lefty reliever from the 2023 season. Hernandez, a hard-throwing left-handed pitcher, joined the team as a Rule V selection before the 2023 season and impressed during his tenure with the Bucs. He was selected by Pirates with the 3rd pick in that draft, out of the Los Angeles Dodgers Organization.

Although Hernandez began the 2024 season eligible for assignment to the minors due to roster adjustments, circumstances shifted when Roansy Contreras, one of the team's relievers, went on paternity leave before the opening game. This situation led to Hernandez's inclusion on the roster and his critical role in securing the first win of the new season. Both Contreras and lefty Bailey Falter are out of options which means they cannot be sent down without passing through waivers.

Thrust into a tense 6-5 ball game in the 12th inning with a runner on second base (the new extra inning rule), Hernandez was ready to prove that he was up to the moment by inducing two groundouts and a flyout, leaving the tying run stranded on third base. In doing so, he earned his first career save, a significant milestone for any relief pitcher. Here is the video from the Pirates X-account:

Pitchers like Bednar and Chapman typically expected handle the Pirates closing duties.

Hernandez's achievement highlights his potential contribution to the team. This success marks a promising start for the 26-year-old as he embarks on his journey with the Pirates. Still, it is always good to see relievers perform in high-stress situations. You never know who could be the next breakout backend arm. Hernandez definitely has the stuff to do it.