Pittsburgh Pirates: SPs Did Their Job, Roster Shake Ups Needed & More Takeaways From Series Loss in Baltimore
By Marty Leap
Duane Underwood Jr. needs to go
I have long been a supporter of Duane Underwood Jr. He has the pure stuff needed to be a quality releiver out of a MLB bullpen. Unfortunately, he has never been able to find the consistency needed and put everything together to reach his potential.
At this point it's time for Underwood Jr.'s tenure with the Pittsburgh Pirates to come to an end. Friday night's game got away from the Pirates when Underwood Jr. allowed a runner he inherited in the 7th inning to score, breaking a 2-2 tie, and then he allowed a 3-run home run to Cedric Mullins in the 8th inning.
This was the second consecutive poor outing for Underwood Jr. The righty now owns a 5.40 ERA, 4.82 FIP, a 10.3% walk rate, and a very poor 14.1% strikeout rate in 18.1 innings pitched. This walk rate is Underwood Jr.'s worst since his first MLB season in 2018, when he pitched just 4 innings, and his strikeout rate is by far the worst of his career.
Underwood Jr. has especially struggled when Derek Shelton has attempted to use him in high-leverage situations. That is something that moving forward Underwood Jr. absolutely can not be trusted to do.
For the most part the Pirate bullpen has been a strength for a team this season. Chase De Jong was struggling mightily which led to him being designated for assignment. Now it's time for Underwood Jr., who, like De Jong, has a career track record of struggling and inconsistency to meet the same fate. Underwood Jr. needs removed from the roster to create a bullpen spot for a young arm such as Cody Bolton, Colin Selby, or Carmen Mlodzinski.