Jason Grilli is back

Grilli was supposed to pitch at least once with Indianapolis during their playoff series with Durham this week (it was my understanding that he was supposed to start in Durham tomorrow. That was causing a bit of a dilemma for me, because I'd like to go see Indy play this week and I'd like to see Grilli, too, but also the Pirates are dangerously close to clinching their first winning season in 20 years and I'm not missing that if I can help it.

It's really hard to understate how important Grilli might be to a stretch run. Mark Melancon is obviously incredible and Tony Watson has been borderline unhittable for a month (since August 6th, Watson's made 12 appearances and thrown 14 innings; he's allowed nine hits, zero runs, zero walks, and struck out 11), but the Pirates have constantly seemed to be one reliever short from really being able to shut the game down the way they could earlier in the season. Obviously, Grilli can be that reliever.

There's been some question over exactly what role he'll return to (Clint Hurdle has indicated that he might not immediately put him back into the closer's role to allow him to settle back in), but that hardly matters. Grilli was having a ridiculously good season that landed him on the All-Star team (66 strikeouts and 10 walks over 42 1/3 innings to go with his 2.34 ERA, all of which just feels silly to type out) and the cover of Sports Illustrated. Six weeks ago, Grilli was clutching his elbow on the mound a week after appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated. It looked like his season and maybe even his career was over. Tonight, he's back in the bullpen. If he's healthy, the end of games just changed considerably for the better for the Pirates.

Pat Lackey

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.