Pirates announce Joel Hanrahan will begin season as closer

1 Comment

Joel Hanrahan entered camp as the favorite to claim ninth-inning duties in Pittsburgh and the Pirates wasted little time making it official, announcing this afternoon that he’ll begin the season as closer.

While his 3.62 ERA last season may appear mediocre, Hanrahan had a breakout season with 100 strikeouts and a .221 opponents’ batting average in 70 innings. Among all pitchers with at least 50 innings last season only Carlos Marmol (16.0) and Billy Wagner (13.5) racked up more strikeouts per nine innings than Hanrahan (12.9)

He also cut down on his walks, handing out a career-low 3.4 free passes per nine innings, and served up just six homers in 294 plate appearances. Hanrahan lacks closer experience, but he certainly doesn’t lack closer stuff. Pittsburgh may not have a ton of late leads to protect, but with left-hander Evan Meek (2.14 ERA, 70/31 K/BB ratio in 80 innings) setting up Hanrahan the back of the bullpen should be one of their few strengths.

Trevor Story homers off of Charlie Morton, All-Star Game tied at two after seven

Getty Images
Leave a comment

There was a whole lot of nothing happening in the All-Star Game after Willson Contreras‘ homer in the bottom of the third. We saw a lot of 98 m.p.h. pitches, a handful of walks and a near total lack of balls in play and/or defensive excitement for three and a half innings. In short: it was classic late 20-teens baseball. The most exciting thing that happened during that span was a trade that everyone knew was happening, even if they didn’t know when it would actually go down.

That changed in the bottom of the seventh when, with Charlie Morton of the Astros on the mound, Rockies shortstop Trevor Story socked one out to left field. There hasn’t been a lot of action tonight, but the action that has gone down has gone down in the left field stands.

It’s 2-2 as we head to the eighth inning.