Kyle McPherson and Justin Wilson both made their Major League debuts on Monday night in San Diego, and looked sharp in the process. They combined for three scoreless innings coming out of the bullpen. The duo got the call when Juan Cruz was designated for assignment and Jordy Mercer went on paternity leave.
There was some uncertainty as to who would receive the start, and it was assumed one of the minor leaguers would get a shot. Kevin Correia volunteered himself and ended up getting the nod. He suffered through a mixture of solid hits and bad luck, while lasting just 4.2 innings. Correia allowed three runs on seven hits. With KC pitching in relief on Sunday and two fresh arms on the way, it didn’t really make sense for him to start. After seeing the two rookies pitch, it seemed to make even less sense.
Anyway, Kyle McPherson was up first, and came in to replace Tony Watson, who finished off the fifth inning. He got Cameron Maybin to ground out and struck out Edinson Volquez with a 95 mph fastball. Everth Cabrera singled, but Will Venable struck out swinging on another 95 mph heater. His second inning of work was smooth as well; the Padres went down in order by way of two fly outs and a ground out.
Justin Wilson was called in for the bottom of the eighth. He earned two quick K’s (Yonder Alonso looking, Alexi Amarista swinging) before allowing back-to-back hits to Maybin and Chris Denorfia. He finished off the frame by sending Everth Cabrera down on strikes. He went right at the hitters (17 fastballs vs. 2 sliders) and struck out the side.
McPherson was recently promoted to Indianapolis from Altoona, as he’s only appeared in two Triple-A games. Both outings were impressive; he collected 12 strikeouts in 11.1 innings, while surrendering just two earned runs.
Wilson has tossed 131.1 innings for Indy this season, going 9-6 with a 3.84 ERA. He’s not a typical soft tossing lefty, but doesn’t have great control. He walked 65 batters in Triple-A, which is by far the most for any Indianapolis pitcher.
Overall, both pitchers looked really good. McPherson could probably use some more minor league work and benefit from starting, but he certainly held his own on Monday night. Wilson seems to be a strong option out of the bullpen right now. The Pirates could definitely use him as a second lefty out of the ‘pen, even as a LOOGY (Lefty One Out GuY). Clint Hurdle said that Juan Cruz will not be back, as young pitchers have passed him up. It comes down to Chad Qualls, who’s set to return from the bereavement list. Who knows what the Pirates decide, as their moves have been hard to predict as of late. Two other solid options at AAA are Bryan Morris (2.51 ERA) and Chris Leroux (2.26 ERA). The Bucs should benefit from the expanded rosters on September 1st.