ON THE PIRATES
Jason Grilli (21 saves, 1.14 ERA) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (32-20) continue to be one of baseball’s best stories in 2013. The Pirates Tuesday night improved to 32-20 with a 1-0 shutout win over the Detroit Tigers (29-21) in extra innings (11 innings).
Grilli who leads the Majors with 21 saves, is now 21-for-21 in save opportunities and when it comes to Grilli picking up his 21st save of the season, the situation (11th inning) and who he had to get out doesn’t get any better.
After Neil Walker (.259 – 3HR – 15RBI) homered in the top of the 11th to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead, Grilli came on in the bottom of the 11th to close out the game with a daunting task of facing the Tigers meat of the order, Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
All Grilli did was strikeout all three batters to close out the game.
“That’s as good as it gets in any lineup in the game,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “That’s why you have a closer.”
In Grilli and Mark Melancon (1-0, 18 HLD, 0.96 ERA), the Pirates continue to boast one of baseballs best 8th inning-9th inning combo’s.
CONTRIBUTIONS FROM JUST ABOUT EVERYBODY
What continues to standout with the Pirates is the contributions they are getting from just about everybody in the lineup. Few could have expected the Pirates to get the type of contributions they are getting from starter/reliever Jeanmar Gomez (2-0, 2.30 ERA) who the Pirates traded for in the off-season from Cleveland.
Gomez Tuesday night threw 7 shutout innings, allowing 3 hits, walking 1 and striking out 2 in the Pirates 1-0 win over the Detroit Tigers. Gomez received a no decision and threw just 73 pitches through 7 innings.
Tigers star hitters Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder went a combined 1-for-6 with 1 strikeout against Gomez.
The Pirates have now won each of Gomez’s six starts and Gomez has a 2.30 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 43 innings after posting a 5.96 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 90.2 innings for Cleveland in 2012.
In what might have seen like GM talk at the time, GM Neal Huntington claimed to me in January that Pirates scouts targeted Gomez because of the remaining upside they saw in him. “We feel he is an interesting young pitcher with remaining upside that adds to the group we have to compete for a spot in our rotation and or in our bullpen,” Pirates GM Neal Huntington told Inside Pittsburgh Sports.com on Jan 10.. “We like his sinker and the corresponding ability to get ground balls as well as his ability to throw strikes with all of his pitches,” Huntington said.
For Huntington, he’s had a rare great off-season in upgrading the team in resigning Jason Grilli at a below market deal, acquiring Mark Melancon, upgrading the catcher position with Russell Martin, adding a zero risk pitcher in Jeanmar Gomez and the addition of Francisco Liriano looks good for now.