Huge series for the bullpen, including some unexpected heroes
For much of the season the Pirate bullpen has been a major strength for the team. This has led to the team having the second lowest bullpen ERA in the National League. So the team getting a huge series from the bullpen against the Cardinals was not a surprise, but some of the unexpected heroes who stepped up in the bullpen was a surprise.
As we covered above, the Pirates only got 6 innings from their starting pitchers in the first two games of the series. Due to this, the bullpen had to cover 12 innings in this game. That will always lead to pitchers at the bottom of the bullpen ladder being used, and to their credit each of these pitchers stepped up.
Firday night the Pirates going 1.2 scoreless innings of relief from Cody Bolton, who was coming off an outing against the Giants in which he was shelled, and lefty Rob Zastryzny pitched a scoreless inning. Friday was also the first of three consecutive games in which Yohan Ramirez pitched a posted a zero.
In what essentially became a bullpen game, Angel Perdomo pitched 2.1 perfect innings of relief in his Pirate debut and Yerry De Los Santos pitched 2/3 of a scoreless inning in his season debut. Jose Hernandez pitched 1/3 of a scoreless inning, and Dauri Moreta fired 1.2 scoreless inning. Moreta also got a huge out in Sunday's victory.
For the first time in his career David Bednar was asked to pitch in three cosnecutvei games. Bednar pitched a scoreless 9th inning in each of these appearances, leading to him picking up 3 saves over the weekend. Bednar appears to be well on his way to his second consecutive All-Star Game appearances.
In total, the Pirate bullpen pitchd 14.1 innings in this series. The lone runs they allowed came when Colin Holderman had a blip on the radar appearance on Saturday afternoon when he allowed a 2-run home run. These were the first runs allowed by Holderman since April.
When team's put together the type of unexpected start to a season that the Pirates are off to you often times have games where unexpected heroes step up. For the Bucco bullpen, that was the story of the entire weekend. Well, that along with the usual cast of character doing their thing.