Williams Snaps ‘Toughest Stretch’ of Career

Bucs pitcher keeping it in perspective though

Josh Rowntree
June 18, 2018 - 11:37 pm

Following, as he described it, the toughest stretch of his professional career, Pirates starter Trevor Williams put up his second-best start of the season in Pittsburgh’s 1-0 win over NL Central leader Milwaukee Monday night at PNC Park. 

"Baseball kicks your ass,” Williams said. "The highs are so high and the lows are so low and you really have to be even-keeled and you have to keep that steady climb.”

Williams was the Pirates best pitcher in April, with a 2.29 ERA and a 4-1 record. Included in that was an Opening Day start in which he did not allow a hit in six innings against the Tigers. But, since April, his ERA has ballooned to 4.38 before Monday’s win. 

"Going through a tough stretch like I have and like some of the guys have been going, you rely on your teammates a lot,” he said.

The Pirates won their fourth game in their last five. Williams’ control was the biggest reason why.

"What a fine performance,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "Fastball usage, he pitched in and out, up and down with it. He moved the fastball around, which made his changeup and slider much more productive.”

Through the difficult stretch, Williams kept mentally steady.

"He’s always had that, ever since I’ve known him,” Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer said. "Whatever happens, happens and he’s going to continue to pitch forward."

"That’s the way the season is sometimes. You’re going to have your ups and downs. He’s had his downs and so now he’s working his way back up and this is a great start.”

Williams closed out last season in impressive fashion, posting a 2.38 ERA in September. So, when he got off to a hot start in 2018, it appeared he may have been in for a big year. 

"We understand the ebbs and flows,” he said. "It sucks watching it, I’m sure, as a fan. If I was a fan and was watching a guy going through struggles, it’s tough.”

"We have the belief in ourselves. We rely in each other a lot. For myself, I’ve been relying on my teammates a lot in this tough stretch and they picked me up tonight and got us a win.”

Williams’ four-seem fastball played the best on a night where he got seven strikeouts and walked only two batters through seven innings. 

"Pitch efficiency,” he said. "I was really efficient with the fastball going to all four corner and using my offspeed and my sinker when I needed to. (Francisco) Cervelli called a hell of a game and I relied on him a lot today and he gave me everything he had.”

Mechanically, Williams admitted to tweaking some things between his disastrous three-inning outing in Arizona 6 days ago. 

"It’s a culmination of a lot of things,” he added. "It’s working on things here and there and noticing some parts of my delivery that needed fine tuning. It’s realy just executing pitches. The more pitches you execute at the big league level, the more success you’ll have.

Despite the obvious boost in confidence, Williams is keeping the effort in perspective. 

"I’m going to go through a rough stretch again,” he said. "It’s about adapting and overcoming that and trusting your abilities and staying confident through it."

"It’s a tough stretch for everybody, but it’s not going to be the last tough stretch we get. So, we have to constantly rely on each other, rely on the management and get that belief in ourselves like we have. It was fun to see that tonight.”