Resop Trying to Find Momentum After Thursday’s Outing

PITTSBURGH — On Thursday night in Cincinnati, we caught a glimpse of the Chris Resop who was really good for the Pirates on the mound in high-leverage situations last season.

“We had 25 guys battle for 10 innings [Thursday] night,” Resop said. “Obviously it’s a huge confidence booster for the club. It’s a huge confidence booster for myself. I threw the ball the way I know I’m capable of doing. Just trying to build off every outing.”

Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle too, was impressed from what he saw.

“That might be the best game he’s pitched for us this year,” Hurdle said. “Very reminiscent from some of the outings he had last year when he came in with some of those bases loaded situations.”

Resop entered the game in the bottom of the 10th with a one-run lead. Both the Pirates and Reds had been battling back and forth in the see-saw game. Hurdle handed him the ball with the tough task — the heart of Cincinnati’s lineup.

All-Star Joey Votto lead off the inning with a double into the gap in right-center field.

“For whatever reason after the double, the fastball velocity jumped like we haven’t seen all year,” Hurdle said. “It was good for Chris.”

But instead of losing confidence, Resop actually thrived in the pressure situation.

“We’re always looking for things to help settle these guys, or help calibrate them,” Hurdle said. “The leadoff double from Votto did not calibrate me. It got me back in to, what can we do to get out of this?”

His next batter, Brandon Phillips, grounded out to short for the first out. Jay Bruce was up next. The outfielder had already hit a home runs in the game, and Hurdle quickly decided to intentionally walk him.

“I like the way he went after Phillips, but there was no way we were going to be touching Bruce with a 10-foot pole,” Hurdle said. “That just wasn’t going to be a deal we were going to do. Someone informed me, that’s the wining run. I said, ‘Yeah. I know that.’ But that’s the beauty of the game.”

Third baseman Todd Frazier, who was already hitless on the day, popped out for the second out. And like a movie script, former Bucco Ryan Ludwick was the next batter to step to the plate. Ludwick had already hit two long balls on the game, the second which came off Joel Hanrahan for the blown save. But baseball can be a funny game. Ludwick got caught looking on an 0-2, 94 mph fastball to end the game.

“Sometimes you can’t create situations like that one he got put into last night,” Hurdle said. “The blown save. Here’s a one-run game. Here’s the meat of the order. You get the ball, go pitch. Leadoff double, it could have went the other way on him but he put a foot down. I really liked the way he answered that call. I think it’s going to help him moving forward.”

The right-hander has had an up and down year in 2012. He had a solid month of April where he allowed just three earned runs over 10 appearances, but struggled in May posting a 5.40 ERA.

“He’s worked hard at finding some momentum,” Hurdle said. “That’s one thing that we haven’t been able to find. The fastball velocity has been 90-92. The breaking ball has kind of come and gone. He threw way too many cutters for me at one particular point in time. I think he really got away from his bread and butter. I had him rank his pitches. The cutter was his fourth ranked pitch that he was throwing the second-most often. To me it was a disconnect so we walked back through why he was good last year, what helped him be good. I think he’s revisiting that.”

So far in June, Resop has bounced back. The 29-year-old has not allowed a run over 5.2 innings in relief while striking out seven.

“I really haven’t changed a whole lot,” Resop said. “I’ve tried to be a little more aggressive on the mound. Sometimes you’re going to have bad days, you’re going to have bad months. Hitters sometimes go through 30 at-bat slumps where they don’t get a hit. It’s part of the game. You can’t let it get to you. You’ve got to keep going out there and battling everyday. That’s the one thing cool about this game, you have a bad day today, there’s another day tomorrow. If you’re a boxer or something, you’ve got to wait six months. You can go out there tomorrow and redeem yourself. That’s what I’ve been trying to do.”

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