In our daily Wake-Up Call, we get you ready for the day with a complete look at all things Pittsburgh Pirates.
Starting Pitching looks good so far
The Pittsburgh Pirates lost to the Blue Jays yesterday but obviously, wins and losses don’t mean much in Spring Training. The most important thing was another solid Spring debut for a Pirates’ starting pitcher. Ivan Nova threw two scoreless innings and really made it look easy.
The Pirates’ offense wasn’t really an issue last year but the pitching overall failed miserably. You can’t tell much from the first handful of Spring Training games but pitching well makes me feel better than if Nova, Cole, Kuhl, and Taillon each had poor outings. A lot can change from now and Opening Day but if the team can turn their pitching around and return to the top of the NL, I certainly feel better about the Pirates’ chances to compete.
Reasons for concern?
Tony Watson looked pretty good for the first two outs of his second spring appearance, then it all fell apart. He allowed three runs on four hits and wasn’t able to finish his inning of work. Normally, this wouldn’t be much of a story but Watson is coming off an up and down season. He wasn’t terrible by any means but by his standards, a 3.03ERA is high. He especially struggled in one-run save attempts, going 3-for-6 in such situations. Because of this, people are going to be concerned with any poor outing in Spring Training.
He wasn’t terrible by any means but by his standards, a 3.03ERA is high. He especially struggled in one-run save attempts, going 3-for-6 in such situations. Because of this, people are going to be concerned with any poor outing in Spring Training.
I am willing to give Watson the benefit of the doubt. I genuinely think he will return to form as the full-time closer but I do think he needs a shorter leash. Clint Hurdle can’t be afraid to remove him as closer if it appears that his struggles are continuing. Tony Watson’s track record has earned him a fair shot as the Opening Day closer but his struggles last year should make Hurdle watch him very closely early in the season.
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