Pirates’ Steven Brault, Nick Kingham to take spots of injured Jameson Taillon, Chris Archer
On paper, at least, the Pittsburgh Pirates entered spring training with a three-man competition for the final spot in the starting rotation.
They’re entering the first full week of May with all three of those men in the rotation.
With Chris Archer and Jameson Taillon being placed on the injured list over the past week, the Pirates put Steven Brault and Nick Kingham into the rotation. Manager Clint Hurdle announced after Saturday’s win Brault will pitch the opener of a two-game home series against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, and Kingham will start Wednesday’s game.
“Nick and I are going to hit the ground running with this, which is what you’ve got to do,” Brault said. “We want to help our team win, so that’s what we are going to do.”
The Pirates considered their fifth starter’s role open in late winter, but, in reality, Brault and Kingham faced an uphill battle unseating newly signed veteran Jordan Lyles. Lyles won the job and is 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA through five starts.
Brault, a lefty, has appeared in only four games this season, posting an 8.31 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings. He has made 16 major-league starts since his debut in late 2016, going 2-4 with a 4.76 ERA. Overall in the majors, Brault has a 4.87 ERA and 1.61 WHIP over 168 1/3 innings.
This is Steven Brault talking about going into the rotation… but it’s mostly just an excuse to get his hat on film. “From my buddy in Dallas.” pic.twitter.com/Ff1zM6fU1X
— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) May 5, 2019
Kingham, who, like Brault, is 27 years old, made 15 starts — and three relief appearances — as a rookie in 2018 and has pitched in eight games out of the bullpen this season.
After taking a perfect game into the seventh inning of his MLB debut April 29, 2018, Kingham mostly struggled. He had a 5.74 ERA the rest of last season and has 6.39 ERA this season.
Kingham was once one of the organization’s top prospects, but he is out of minor-league options so this could be his last chance to stick with the Pirates.
Brault also could be getting his final shot with the Pirates to prove he is a major-league starter. But as a left-hander, he still could have a bullpen role.
Taillon is out more than a month because of a right elbow flexor tendon strain. Archer had resumed throwing but remains out because right thumb inflammation. That means it is likely Brault and Kingham get at least a couple starts to make an impression.
“It’s gonna be good. I’ve got a lot of faith in Nick and I,” Brault said. “We both have been working hard, so it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .