Glancing at the Fight for the NL Central, Part 3: Bullpens

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PIT 2.78 3.57 3.65 .209 .252 1.101 7.94 3.00 2.65 18%

Honestly, there’s rarely a negative you can utter about this group. The one area not shown in the table above where they lead the NL that might not be so flattering is the HBP with 19. Of course, the Cards are next with 18 and the Reds fall in line after that with 15. Pittsburgh’s pen also has thrown the most wild pitches (21, along with Atlanta).

There is one more and I have already identified it. Innings. Have to wonder if these guys can take the workload.

Jul 16, 2013; Flushing, NY, USA; Grilli throws a pitch in the 9th inning in the 2013 All Star Game at Citi Field. (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)

After serving as a setup guy last season and even being out of baseball for a season, Jason Grilli has made the most of his move to the closer’s role. The Pirates traded Joel Hanrahan prior to the start of the season, thus opening the door for Grilli. He’s not only gone through that door, he’s sprinted through it.

Speaking of the Hanrahan deal, the Pirates got Mark Melancon in that trade. Think that’s gone well, too. Don’t think there’s a better setup guy in all of baseball at the moment.

Both Grilli and Melancon were also on the NL All-Star team.

A pair off lefties, Justin Wilson and Tony Watson, have more than contributed, In his first full season, Wilson has posted numbers that are eye-opening. He did get knocked around in a couple of early June games, but he has rebounded from those quite nicely to post and ERA of 0.60 and a WHIP of 0.933 in his last 12 appearances.

With Watson, he also had a run of poor pitching from the end of April until mid-May. He allowed runs in 6 consecutive games in that stretch. Looking at how he has performed since May 13th, his ERA is 1.67 while opponents are only hitting .170 when facing him. And his WHIP of 0.853 during that span is incredible.

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