Pittsburgh Pirates: Vince Velasquez in a Groove and More Takeaways From Series Victory in Washington D.C.
By Marty Leap
Great series for the bullpen
While the Pirate bullpen was mostly outstnading during the month of April, there were a few hiccups and some signs of cracks in their series victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Against the Nationals, however, the bullpen responded with one of their best series of the season.
This was a series where a lot was asked of the bullpen, too. A doubleheader is never easy on a pitching staff, especially a bullpen. While game two of the DH was a blowout, game one was tight throughout and left the bullpen with little wiggle room.
Then on Sunday, the bullpen had to pick up 5.2 innings after Oviedo failed to get out of the 3rd inning. The bullpen proceeded to pitch 5.2 scoreless innings in relief of Oviedo, giving the Bucs an opportunity to rally even though they failed to do so.
Robert Stephenson got the final two outs of the 7th inning after Rich Hill's day ended in the first game of the doubleheader. Colin Holderman and David Bednar each followed with a scoreless inning. In the night cap, Cody Bolton pitched 2 scoreless innings in his MLB debut and Yohan Ramirez allowed a solo home run in the 9th inning.
Dauri Moreta, Jose Hernandez, Ramirez, and Duane Underwood Jr. combined for the 5.2 scoreless innings on Sunday. In total, the Pirate bullpen allowed just 1 run 11 innings pitched in the series. When the lone run a bullpen allows in 11 innings pitched is due to a picher pounding the strike zone and allowing a solo home run with a 16-0 lead, you'll take that every single time.