Jason Grilli Has Been a Huge Asset to the Bullpen

Grilli has been the eighth inning guy for the Bucs this season.

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Back from the bereavement list on Wednesday, Jason Grilli showed no signs of rust after making his first  appearance in relief in three days. Grilli struck out the New York Mets’ heart of the lineup — Kirk Nieuwenhuis, David Wright and Lucas Duda — swinging in the eighth inning. The righty reliever lowered his season ERA to just 2.12 over his 18 appearances.

Grilli has been a huge asset to the bullpen, shutting down the late innings for the club since Pittsburgh signed him as a free agent on July 21, 2011. But this year, Grilli has been throwing the ball even better. The 35-year-old has 30 strikeouts over 17 innings in relief while walking just nine. Grilli has recorded at least one strikeout in each of his outings.

“I’m not thinking about it,” Grilli said of racking up punchouts this season. “I guess you guys pay attention to more attention to that stuff than me. I tend not to pay attention and talk about it. I’m just so locked in. Just my approach. Just enjoying throwing the baseball. Just have ball control. I know when I’m doing it right and I’m just putting it where I want to put it. And I’m just doing it aggressively.”

Grilli has allowed just two runs in May and has not allowed a hit in 14 at-bats with runners in scoring position. He also has held lefty bats to just a .161 BAA while on the mound. Grilli missed the entire 2010 season due to knee surgery, which almost ended his career. This year he is throwing passion with every pitch he lets fly.

“This man’s got a huge desire,” Pirates’ Manager Clint Hurdle said. “He’s got huge heart. He had the game taken away from him. There’s something to be said for that. Some of it’s on Jason as well. To have the game taken way from you and not know if he’s going to come back, he has come back with a renewed passion, and a renewed commitment that’s special and significant.”

“This guy’s throwing the ball harder than I’ve ever seen him throw it. And I had him in his best year before this in 2008 in Colorado. He’s pitching better than that. Good for him. And good for us.”

Pittsburgh’s pitching staff has been one of the best in the Majors so far this season. The staff’s 3.33 combined ERA is ranked No. 4 in all of baseball, and the bullpen is ranked No. 3 in the big leagues with a 2.37 ERA — first in the National League.

“We have an unbelievable pitching staff,” Grilli said. “I think the League knows that. We can call ourselves a bunch of nobodies over here because I like that. I love being an underdog. I’ve been an underdog my whole life. A lot of people say, ‘Oh, this is the best you’ve pitched.’ Maybe I’m getting a little recognition, or maybe we’re getting the recognition that we deserve. Let’s face it, we’re in Pittsburgh where we’re not a highly touted team as the Yankees are, the Boston Red Sox, all those. I’d rather be in a situation where nobody expects much out of us and just go out there. It’s just a fun place to be at.”

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

Offensive Help From the Farm System: The Future Edition

Next Story »

Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon in Keith Law’s Top Ten

  • John Lease

    If only he could hit!

Latest Analysis

  • Keller Supak Hinsz

    Even With the New Draft Rules, the Pirates Are Still Loading Up on Projectable Pitchers

    5 hours ago

    From 2008-2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent a lot of resources on projectable pitchers out of high school. So far, this approach has led to breakout performances from ...

    Read More
  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    2 days ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    2 days ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    4 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    6 days ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    7 days ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    1 week ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    1 week ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    2 weeks ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Cody Dickson is a lefty with the upside of a middle of the rotation starter. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

    The Mental Adjustment that Led to Cody Dickson’s Dominant 2014 Second Half

    2 weeks ago

    Trusting his stuff and not trying to do too much — that has been the key for left-handed pitcher Cody Dickson so far in his professional baseball ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles