Pirates notes: Chris Archer OK for Wednesday start, bullpen a recent strength
Chris Archer will make his scheduled start Wednesday for the Pittsburgh Pirates, manager Clint Hurdle confirmed before Tuesday’s game. Left hip discomfort experienced during the veteran righthander’s prior outing had put his next scheduled start against the Chicago Cubs in doubt.
“I don’t try to over-dramatize things,” Hurdle said. “You came to us with an issue, you go to people you’re sent to talk to when the issue presents itself, and it plays itself out. I’m glad he will be able to make his next start.”
Chris Archer (left hip discomfort) said he’s good to start tomorrow night.
— Adam Berry (@adamdberry) July 2, 2019
Archer pitched six shutout innings against the Cubs last September in his only start for the Pirates against them. An awkward swing forced Archer to leave a game at Milwaukee this past Friday after only four innings.
After a rough stretch in May and early June, the Pirates’ bullpen is back to being the strength that the organization thought it would be this season.
After 3 1/3 scoreless innings during Monday’s 18-5 win against the Cubs, the Pirates bullpen had a 2.22 ERA since June 11 with over an 18-game stretch heading into Tuesday. Pirates relievers had allowed just one run over their previous 16 2/3 innings over five games before Tuesday.
Several relievers have been better lately after rocky stretches. Richard Rodriguez had a 6.45 season ERA through May – he did not allow a run over 13 appearances in June. After allowing at least one run to score in six of his first nine outings, Clay Holmes has been scored upon just twice in his past eight appearances. Michael Feliz has been scored upon just once in his past seven outings, lowering his ERA from 7.80 to 5.91 in that time.
Even Dovydas Neverauskas has had five consecutive scoreless MLB appearances (spanning stints in the minors since he was tagged for five runs in an inning of work May 9 in St. Louis.
Hurdle credits better starting pitching for the bullpen’s recent success.
“We’ve used the bullpen when we wanted to; not when we’ve had to,” Hurdle said. “It all has just got us to a better place… It starts with your starters, what kind of distance they can provide and what kind of quality they can get you.”
First-round pick Quinn Priester made his professional debut Tuesday, pitching 2 1/3 innings for the Pirates’ Gulf Coast League rookie-level affiliate. Priester allowed one run on three hits and a walk with two strikeouts. … Josh Bell’s 57 extra-base hits through Monday were the most by a National League player through his team’s first 83 games since Hall of Famer Hank Aaron had 57 with the Milwaukee Braves in 1959. … Over their past seven games, the Pirates are hitting .457 (16-for-35) with 13 runs in the first inning.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .