Curve bullpen delivers
In Pittsburgh, the Pirates have a shark tank in the clubhouse. It’s spawned the nickname “Shark Tank” for the bullpen that has been a key for Pirates success this year.
While the Curve don’t have a fish tank in their clubhouse, they should probably look into at least getting a nickname for their bullpen of late.
The bullpen pitched five scoreless innings as the Curve beat Erie, 7-4, before 7,623, the second largest crowd at Peoples Natural Gas Field this year.
The five scoreless innings was nothing new for the bullpen post All-Star break. It has allowed just one run in 30 2/3 innings since the break.
“That’s what you are trying to build for, arms that can give you quality outings to keep the minimal different in order to preserve the victory,” Curve manager Carlos Garcia said of the bullpen. “It’s very important for them, confidence wise. They believe in what they are doing. They know the right thing to do.”
After starter David Bromberg pitched four innings and allowed four runs, four Curve pitchers filled in and didn’t allow a run. They allowed just three hits and combined for three strikeouts.
Nathan Baker (2-1) got the win as the second pitcher out of the pen. Jason Townsend pitched 1 2/3 innings. Baker hurled 2 1/3, Luis Sanz tossed 2/3 and Jhonathan Ramos earned the save, his first of the year.
“We’ve just been a lot closer to each other,” Baker said. “We’ve truly had each other’s backs. We are a lot more comfortable with each other now. We are just trying to compete on the mound.”
The save for Ramos comes one night after he wasn’t allowed to pitch as he was forgot on the lineup card. Ramos struck out the only batter he faced for the final out.
“It was great tonight,” Ramos said through translator and fellow pitches Sanz. “I tried to continue was [Sanz] tried to do.”
The win is the Curve’s third straight after losing two in a row. The Curve are now 45-53 but are still nine games out of first. They are only five and half games behind second place Bowie.
While the bullpen has been on of late, the Curve also came from behind again to get a win. The Curve trailed 4-0 and scored seven unanswered runs.
“It was easy to give up because nothing was going our way,” Garcia said. “But relentless approach keeps the guys positive. They just put the best foot and make sure that we are here for them. They understand that, and that they have the full support from the coaching staff.”
With the Curve battling back, Baker feels that the bullpen will be a big part of the team’s potential push late.
“The way we are playing right now,” he said, “I think the bullpen is going to be the backbone of our team.”
Key player: LF Oscar Tejeda went 2-for-4, driving in four runs.
Key play: Adalberto Santos scored on an error by James Robbins, breaking a 4-4 tie.
Key stat: The bullpen has allowed just one run in 30 2/3 innings since the All-Star Break.
How they scored
Top 1st: Johnson homered (1-0).
Top 4th: Fields walked, scored on Douglas walk (2-0); Cabrera singled, Robbins walked, both scored on error by Paulino (4-0).
Bottom 4th: Santos walked, Polanco singled, both scored on Tejeda single (4-2); Tejeda singled, scored on Paulino single (4-3).
Bottom 5th: Maggi walked, scored on error by Lemon (4-4); Santos walked, scored on error by Robbins (5-4); Polanco reached on an error, scored on Tejeda ground out (6-4).
Bottom 7th: Dickerson reached on a force out, scored on Tejeda single (7-4).