Tonight Trevor Williams took the mound for what could be his final time in a Pittsburgh Pirates uniform. Once labeled as a potential stalwart in the rotation, he has become a potential non-tender candidate or trade piece in the upcoming off-season according to multiple rumors that have been swirling around. Coming off a near historic second half of 2018 and an injury riddled 2019, Williams looked to turn things back around under the tutelage of Pirates first year pitching coach Oscar Marin.
During the shutdown and at the beginning of Spring Training 2.0 there were talks about his workouts with Marin, including how he had started to make the curveball more of a centerpiece in his pitching arsenal. At points in time during the beginning of the year it looked as if this this extra time was possibly going to pay off. Especially in his third start of the year, where he struck out five batters and allowed only one earned run in seven innings. However, after this particular outing it has been mostly downhill for Williams. Prior to this evening’s contest, on the season, he has earned a 1-8 record, a 6.70 ERA, and a 1.63 WHIP; all of which are career lows for Williams in his four years as a full-time starter for Pittsburgh.
After striking out the first batter of the game, Williams wasted no time in giving up his 15th home run of season, moving him back into first place in the category; a feat that he achieved in only 50 innings. For reference it took him 170.2 innings to reach this mark in 2018. Luckily for him the Pirates put together some home run power of their own as Adam Frazier and Ke’Bryan Hayes led of the bottom of the first with back-to-back solo shots.
Apparently this lit a fire under Trevor because for the next 4.2 innings he looked more like the pitcher many hoped he would be, rather than the one we have been watching for most of the year. He did not allow another run, ended with a total of four strikeouts and most importantly kept the lead. Now I am not saying this changes my opinion of him and his future in Pittsburgh, but it was nice to see.
And for once the bullpen was able to do something they haven’t done over the past five games, they didn’t waste a strong performance from one of their starters. Austin Davis, Nik Turley, Chris Stratton and especially Richard Rodriguez, with his three strikeouts in the 9th, looked sharp; preserving the Pirates second victory in a row over the Chicago Cubs.
There’s only one game left in this series; the last one on the Pirates home stand. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 PM EST as Chad Kuhl (1-3, 5.03 ERA) steps on the rubber to face off with Alec Mills (5-4, 4.14 ERA), who is only one game removed from the no-hitter he tossed against the Brewers.
News and Notes:
- Ke’Bryan Hayes just keeps on hitting; going 2 for 4, including what would be the eventual game winning home run in the 1st inning.
- The 1-2-3 batters for the Pirates were a combined 6 for 12 with 2 home runs.
- Since it seems to one of the only things a lot of Pirates fans care about these days, you should know that the Rangers lost again to pull with in two games of Pittsburgh for the worst record in MLB