The Pittsburgh Pirates have two unlikely arms leading their pitching arsenal this season. Third-year newcomer Jeff Locke, in his first full time season as a starter, and veteran journeyman Jason Grilli, who has become the Pirates closer and one of the best relievers in the game.
In a 1-0 victory over the Houston Astros on Sunday, Locke would work seven scoreless innings, surrendering three hits while striking out four batters in the process.
In nine starts this season, Locke has a 4-1 record with an impressive 2.73 ERA in 52.2 innings, while holding batters to a mere .215 batting average.
Grilli would come into the game in the ninth-inning, looking at his 17th save opportunity of the season. Needing only ten pitches, Grilli pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out one batter en route to his 17th save and a 1-0 victory for the Pirates.
The Pirates closer has surprised many this season, establishing himself as a strong ninth-inning anchor and one of the best closers in the game.
After 11 seasons between multiple teams and rather mediocre production, Grilli is leading the NL in saves (17) and boasts a 0.92 ERA in 19.2 innings with a 31/4 strikeout to walk ratio.
Pittsburgh improved to 26-18 on the season, 2.5 games behind the NL Central leading St. Louis Cardinals. The Pirates have won eight of their last ten games and host the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, May 21.