Pirates Beat Detroit as Brault Pitches Well

Lefty says he was inspired by message from pitching coach

Jeff Hathhorn
March 19, 2019 - 4:43 pm
Steven Brault Ray Searage Francisco Cervelli on mound

93.7 the Fan

BRADENTON, FL (93.7 the Fan) – It could have been the last audition for the fifth starter’s spot as the Pirates beat Detroit 3-1 on Tuesday afternoon.  Adam Frazier, Corey Dickerson and Josh Bell all had a pair of hits.

Steven Brault went 3.2 scoreless innings, allowing two hits, walked three and struck out four.  Brault was able to get past a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the first.  Thanks to a talk from pitching coach Ray Searage.

“I’m gonna just say what he said,’ it looks like you have a stick up your ass’,” Brault told us.  “Basically the idea is, you have to release.  He told me to start singing a song, so I started singing.  So the last few innings, what do you know?”

After that Brault, allowed only one more hit.

“Ray has the ability to go where he needs to go on those mound visits,” manager Clint Hurdle said.  “Sometimes its informational, sometimes its strategy, sometimes is so far off-the-wall it puts him in a good place.  It’s that ability to verbally pat a guy on the back or smack him on the back side.  There is a three foot difference, both are appropriate, and timing makes it all work.”

The lefty says he doesn’t know what will happen now, but he’s prepared for any role because he’s started three games and relieved two games this spring.

“Try not to stress about it,” Brault said of the coming decision.  “You can try as much as you want to, but there is nothing I can do.  All I can do is put forth the work and they will see the work that I’ve done and they will make a decision.”

“You don’t want to hold it against the other person, but sometimes it’s like ‘Kingham went five scoreless yesterday, I have to give four scoreless today, 100 percent’,” Brault said of battling teammates.  “Which is good, it’s good healthy competition.  We are feeding off each other, so it’s nice.”

Brault also said he can turn to his roommate, Nick Kingham, who is also fighting for a 25-man roster spot, or the most secure veteran for words of advice or encouragement.

“It’s not an easy situation, but the guys on our team are so cool and they are so nice,” Brault said.  “They are genuinely good guys so it’s not an issue.  It’s something we are going through together.  It’s helpful to have the support.”

Hurdle said he likes that all three have gotten ample opportunities, adding they will “make a decision when they need to make one”.

Bullpen mostly outstanding

While Rookie Davis gave up a run in the 9th, the work before him was stellar on Tuesday.  Felipe Vazquez went 1.1 innings, striking out three and topped 100 mph twice.  Keone Kela struck out one in a scoreless inning and Francisco Liriano had a perfect inning as well.

“I think he is making progress,” Hurdle said of Liriano, as his ERA dropped to 4.50 after his third straight scoreless appearance.  “He’s never not going to not be prepared, not be focused and not be ready.  It’s pitching, it’s not something he has five years of experience doing.  Better command again today.”

“It’s just always tough when you follow the performance of Vazquez and Kela when they were both so efficient like that, anything less than that you are like, ‘whatever’.  Francisco was fine, Vazquez was filthy and Keone was really good.”

It was a fourth outing for the lefty closer and Vazquez has now gone 4.1 innings this spring allowing no runs, one hit and struck out 9.

“This is as sharp as I’ve ever seen any reliever,” Hurdle said of Vazquez.  “I don’t know what that means heading into the season.  He is focused and fired up and ready to go.”

Joe Musgrove is expected to start for the 11-12-2 Pirates against Minnesota with Nick Burdi, Michael Feliz, Clay Holmes and Brandon Maurer scheduled to pitch.

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