Nova Gives High Praise to Young Bullpen Arms

Bucs use bullpen talent to take down Brewers.

Noah Hiles
July 14, 2018 - 6:10 pm

© Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

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PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – Following their 2-1 win in the first game of their double header against the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday, starting pitcher Ivan Nova was quick to give the credit in the clubs victory to his bullpen.

After a solid start, Nova began to find himself in a jam, resulting in him exiting the ballgame with only 4.2 innings of work and the game still very much on the line. However, thanks to the continued success of a dominant foursome in the Bucco bullpen, the Pirates were able to escape with a win.

Nova was relieved by Richard Rodriguez who threw 1.1 innings of scoreless ball to give himself his second win of the season. Despite entering the game with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth inning, Rodriguez was able to dance out of trouble by striking Brewers slugger Travis Shaw. After throwing perfect sixth inning he then passed the baton forward to the red hot triad of Edgar Santana, Kyle Crick and Felipe Vazquez who each threw a scoreless inning to wrap things up.

“It’s been impressive,” said Nova when asked about the season long progression of the Bucs young bullpen arms. “With Kyle having the stuff that he does, you’d expect something like that; Edgar is the same way. But Richard doesn’t have that explosive fastball, he’s all about command and location. He mixes his pitches really well.”

While Rodriguez was impressive on Saturday, he has been the least hot out of the Pirates sourcing four bullpen options. A scoreless seventh inning marked the 13th straight scoreless outing for Santana while both Crick and Vazquez produced their 14th straight scoreless innings in a row after blanking the Brewers in the eighth and ninth.

“Those four guys have done a very good job,” said Nova. ”Felipe Vazquez has been great too; no question about it. The guy can pitch. Him plus those other three guys can be something pretty amazing.”

In addition to his scoreless outing streak, Vazquez has converted a season high 12 straight save opportunities and not issued a walk in 13 of his last 14.1 innings pitched.