Despite grabbing a 6-5 win on Monday night, the Pittsburgh Pirates may have suffered a loss that will leave them vulnerable in search of their first winning season since 1992.
Lights-out closer Jason Grilli exited Monday’s game early with a reported arm injury. Grilli allowed 2 runs and recorded 2 outs while attempting to lock down his NL-leading 31st save, but he ceded control of the mound to Vin Mazzaro as a result of “right forearm discomfort”.
Grilli has been absolutely tremendous this season, and the save total (30 entering the night) isn’t the only indication of that. The 36-year-old right-hander (and first time closer) has a sparkling 2.34 ERA and an impressive 0.92 WHIP on the season, showing the league that he isn’t a one-trick pony in the save category.
The Pirates have struggled a bit in recent days, but they are still firmly in control of their own destiny with a 58-39 record in the NL Central. However, Grilli’s loss would be felt in a significant manner, and even with the presence of Mark Melancon (the presumed replacement), it would be a worry to see him miss any real period of time. Monday’s outing was certainly a high-stress environment and “discomfort” isn’t always a damning diagnosis, but for now, it’s a waiting game for Pittsburgh.