PITTSBURGH Standing near the dugout at PNC Park Friday afternoon, left hander cheap Tony Watson jersey tucked his mitt under his arm and forced a smile. He spoke willingly, but it already had been a rough day at work.
Watson had been summoned in manager Clint Hurdle’s office an hour earlier and was informed the Pirates jerseys intended to unplug him from the closer’s role for the foreseeable future.
Watson, who for four seasons seemed unshakeable as a set up man, has endured turbulence since inheriting the ninth inning from cheap Mark Melancon jersey at the trade deadline last season. Early shakes led to a nosedive. In the past month, Watson had a 7.71 ERA and five blown saves.
“These things happen,” Watson said. “You go through ruts slumps, I guess you could call it but you’ve got to figure a way to get out of it. The best way is to keep going out there and pitching and something will click.”
In a pregame meeting with Watson, Hurdle and pitching coach Ray Searage mapped out their plan. Watson will seek lower leverage situations, like the Pirates jerseys did recently with right hander cheap Daniel Hudson jersey, and pitch more regularly ideally every other day. The ninth inning will belong either to right hander cheap Juan Nicasio jersey (1.35 ERA) or left hander cheap Felipe Rivero jersey (0.58 ERA).
“We’re going to use the bullpen to win games,” Hurdle said. “There’s not a closer. . Felipe is going to be in the same role he’s been in. Nicasio is going to be in the same role he’s been in. One of them will pitch the ninth inning. I looked up the definition of ‘committee.’ It’s not two. I got asked the other day if we’d do closer by committee. I don’t think two people defines a committee, does it?”
A reporter offered the term “closer by platoon,” and Hurdle appeared satisfied.
“I think it makes a lot of common sense,” Hurdle said. “We’ve had this conversation. I don’t feel the best thing for the club is to take two of our hotter pitchers the hottest pitcher (is) Rivero, fourth best in the game right now (by) any numbers you want to grab and put him in the ninth inning not knowing when you’re going to get there, how many reps he’s going to get or touches.”
Closer is not a position the Pirates jerseys fretted over the past few years. Melancon, who was traded July 2016 and signed with the San Francisco Giants jerseys last season, locked down the ninth. From the start of 2015 to the day Melancon was traded, the Pirates jerseys were 132 1 when they led after eight innings. In 2017, they’ve lost three such games, including two in the past week.
“Just not getting the job done, so we need to make a move,” Watson said. “We need to make a change. Whatever you’ve got to do to help the team win ballgames is the most important thing here. My mentality’s not going to change just because the inning changes. I’m just going to go out there and figure this thing out and get back and hopefully get back to the ninth inning.”
The goal is to eventually return Hudson and Watson to their Opening Day places, Hurdle said, and “the sooner we can get there (the better). cheap mlb jerseys for sale But that means unplugging (Watson) now.” Watson hinted at mechanical issues he’s been working to address lately and said there’s no sense of relief in stepping out for the closer’s role for now, though more regular work will help.
“You never want to give up your job and your role,” he said. “It’s frustrating for me to go through it and get (my)self in this situation. You never want to do that. But the best way for all of us going forward is to bump me back. . A couple weeks here, hopefully, we can figure this thing out and reshape our bullpen back to normal.”