Pirates notebook: Mazzaro thriving in bullpen role
The Pirates' bullpen has been wowing everyone lately, especially the opposition.
“I feel like they all throw 110 (mph),” Milwaukee outfielder Logan Schaefer said Sunday after the Brewers went scoreless over the final 12 innings against six relievers in the Pirates' 14-inning, 2-1 win at PNC Park.
“They've all got good stuff. They know what they're doing, they locate for the most part and in a game like this, it's essential to get strikes early. They're pretty effective at getting ahead in counts, and I think that's big on their end. They're pretty good.”
Closer Jason Grilli and setup man Mark Melancon have been getting most of the attention, but everyone has pitched well. On Sunday, Tony Watson threw three perfect innings to get the win.
Vin Mazzaro did even better. The 26-year-old right-hander was perfect over five innings after a two-hour, 20-minute rain delay knocked starter Charlie Morton out after just two innings.
“It was as efficient a five innings as I've seen pitched. Ever,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said, citing Mazzaro's scant 44 pitches and 10 of 15 outs recorded on three pitches or fewer.
Mazzaro is 4-2 with a 2.52 ERA. Not bad for a converted starter who was 15-22 with a 5.22 ERA during four seasons with the A's and Royals, and began the 2013 season in Indianapolis as a non-roster player. He came to the Pirates in what appeared to be a minor trade with Kansas City.
Pitching for the Royals on May 16, 2011, Mazzaro gave up 14 earned runs in 2 1⁄3 innings during a 19-1 loss to Cleveland. It was a big league record for most runs allowed in less than three innings. He was immediately dispatched to Triple-A Omaha.
That was then. On Sunday, Mazzaro was the first Pirates pitcher since 1919 to throw at least five perfect innings in relief. He has a 1.82 ERA in his past 17 appearances.
“We wanted to give him a clean chalk board,” Hurdle said of Mazzaro's switch to the bullpen. “He bought into it.”
“I've have had my ups and downs,” Mazzaro said. “When things are bad I kind of don't let it get me a lot. I kind of thrive on it and just want to do better. And those things that happen, try to work hard enough where they don't happen again. I found a good spot in the bullpen. I'm feeling good throwing out of it, throwing consistent on a daily basis.”
Andrew McCutchen ranks sixth among National League outfielders in fan voting for the All-Star Game. McCutchen has more than 2.5 million votes and is about 407,000 behind third-place Justin Upton.
There were no Pirates among the top five vote-getters at either catcher or any of the infield positions. The NL pitching staff will be selected by manager Bruce Bochy.
Balloting ends at 11:59 p.m. Thursday. All-Star rosters will be announced Saturday.
Around the horn
Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (forearm tightness) had a platelet-rich plasma injection Monday and will remain out for up to three more weeks. ... Outfielder Jose Tabata (strained left oblique) might come off the disabled list Wednesday when right-hander Brandon Cumpton is returned to Triple-A Indianapolis. ... After missing the past few games to attend to a personal matter, third-base coach Nick Leyva was back at his usual post Tuesday. Rick Sofield filled in while Leyva was out. … Tuesday was the first day to sign international players who are at least 16 years old, but the Pirates did not announce any deals. However, there are indications the team will make a couple of signings by the end of the week. ... The Pirates signed their 28th-round draft pick, right-hander Jerry Mulderig, who was assigned to the Gulf Coast League team. The Pirates have come to terms with 24 picks.
Bob Cohn and Rob Biertempfel are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Reach Cohn at email@example.com or via Twitter @BCohn_Trib and Biertempfel at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates notebook: Harrison’s day cut short by ankle injury
- Spring training breakdown: Blue Jays 4, Pirates 1
- Pirates look to put more pressure on opposition with better baserunning
- Spring training breakdown: Pirates 8, Blue Jays 7
- Surgeon to examine Pirates’ Cumpton after pitcher experienced elbow discomfort
- Ex-Brewers star Hart hopes to prove to Pirates he still can play