June 22, 2021

What role will Kuhl fill in 2020? (The Good Phight)

Just about any way you slice it, the Pirates’ bullpen was a disaster in 2019. At least two dozen hurlers took the ball in relief at one time or another last season, and not many of them enjoyed success. Add to that a couple of fights and suspensions – and the horrible legal woes of erstwhile closer Felipe Vasquez — and the whole thing was a mess.

Nearly a dozen pitchers wound up with ERAs at 7.00 or above – which has to be some kind of a record. Tyler Lyons led the parade with an 11.25 mark in three appearances. Among those with 10 or more appearances, Dovydas Neverauskas checked in at 10.61, Nick Burdi was at 9.35 before undergoing season-ending surgery, Montana DuRapau finished at 9.35 in 14 tries and Nick Kingham compiled a 9.00 mark before his release,.

It wasn’t just the numbers that were ugly. For whatever reason, I could barely watch when several Pirates pitchers, including Neverauskas, made the walk from the bullpen to the mound. Francisco Liriano, the ultimate nibbler, started out well but tailed off to finish with a 4.53 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP in 70 innings over 69 appearances. Richard Rodriguez yielded 14 home runs in 65 1/3 innings, and for a while there it…

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