There was a big situation in tonight's game that pretty much summed up all of my feelings about what is wrong with the closer's role. The Pirates had a comfortable 8-4 lead in the seventh inning. Then Jared Hughes and Tony Watson combined to give up three runs while recording zero outs, making the score 8-7.
Watson was pulled and Brad Lincoln was brought in with two runners on. Lincoln responded with two key strikeouts and a fly out to escape the jam and preserve the lead. The Pirates scored three runs in the top half of the eighth, adding some insurance and gaining back their four run lead.
Jason Grilli preserved the four run lead in the eighth. The Pirates carried that four run lead in to the ninth inning, where Joel Hanrahan came on in a non-save situation. Hanrahan pitched a scoreless inning, allowing just one walk, and the Pirates took the game 11-7.
To recap, the Pirates used their best reliever to get through an inning where they had a four run lead. They also used their seco...
Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.