Originally written on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 11/1/14
A.J. Burnett struggled with his control tonight, leading to more innings from the bullpen. Looking at the stat line, A.J. Burnett didn’t have a terrible start. He gave up just two runs on five hits and three walks in five innings, while striking out seven. Looking beyond the stats, that start was definitely not what the Pirates needed right now. The bullpen is currently over-worked. That has been a trend early in the season, and it is leading to almost all of the relievers being on pace for career highs in innings. Tom Bragg wrote about that this afternoon, projecting out the current pace for each reliever. On top of that, the bullpen had to combine for six innings on Sunday, so a long start from Burnett would have been helpful. Instead, the right hander struggled with his control, walking three and throwing just 59 strikes in 101 pitches. The runs even came from control problems. A wild pitch scored Jonathan Pettibone in the third, after the opposing pitcher led off the inning with a walk. In the fourth, Burnett hit Jimmy Rollins with a pitch while the bases were loaded to bring in his second run. The result was that Jared Hughes had to pitch an inning, and Vin Mazzaro had to go two innings to close out the game. Had the Pirates been winning, then they would have had to turn to either Jason Grilli for the third game in a row, or Mark Melancon, who didn’t throw yesterday but went back to back days before that. The Pirates did keep the game close, despite the struggles and a few jams from Burnett. Pedro Alvarez hit a solo homer in the second inning, putting the Pirates up 1-0 at the time. The blast was a line drive home run that got out of the ballpark in a hurry. The second run of the game came from a solo home run by Russell Martin, who crushed one to left field to tie the score at 2-2 in the fifth inning. Hughes gave up a run in the sixth inning, giving Philadelphia the go-ahead and eventual winning run. The Pirates threatened in the ninth inning with a one out Garrett Jones double, but Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez couldn’t bring Jones in to score. How Taxed is the Bullpen? Even worse than the loss is the fact that the bullpen once again didn’t get a break. They can usually rely on that when Burnett is on the mound. The current state of the bullpen workload is as follows: Jason Grilli – Threw two days in a row prior to today. Mark Melancon – Went two days in a row on Friday and Saturday. Jared Hughes – Has now thrown two days in a row. Tony Watson - Threw two days in a row prior to today. Justin Wilson – Threw 1.1 innings on Sunday. Threw 6 innings total last week in three appearances. Jeanmar Gomez – Threw 2.1 innings on Sunday. Vin Mazzaro – Threw two innings tonight, two days after throwing on back to back days. It’s safe to say that Grilli and Melancon would be available tomorrow. Watson could also be available. But if the Pirates need a long reliever, they’re probably going to have to turn to Justin Wilson again, as Mazzaro was used tonight. Wilson has been going every three days in a multi-innings role, so this would be a bit shorter, with one fewer day of rest. Based on previous starts, you’d rather have a long reliever available for a Jeff Locke start, rather than an A.J. Burnett start. Now would be the perfect time for Locke to start figuring out major league hitters.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Ray Rice wins appeal, can sign with any team

Athletics deal Josh Donaldson to Blue Jays for Brett Lawrie

Ohio governor decrees playoff committee honorary Ohioans

Lance Stephenson becoming a problem with the Hornets?

Tony Romo: I promise I'll be better next week

Seahawks could wait to address Russell Wilson's contract

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: SMU football to hire Clemson offensive coordinator

Dez Bryant: Eagles were ‘kinda cheap’

Hockey goalie rushes into stands to perform CPR on fan

49ers CEO Jed York apologizes for unacceptable performance

Family searching for missing Ohio State football player

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE, says he'll never return

What if the Chargers refused to trade Eli Manning?

Why is there a red seat hanging in the Mall of America?

WATCH: Mickey Rourke TKO’d a man half his age in Moscow

What's next for the 49ers?

The most tone-deaf tweet ever?

Five bold predictions for Week 13 in the NFL

Brady Quinn pens 'note' to Jets quarterback Geno Smith

Bills center Eric Wood gained 7.4 pounds at Thanksgiving

Cubs reliever somehow OK after being involved in awful accident

Seahawks players throw shade at 49ers after victory

Five takeaways from NFL's Thanksgiving Day action

Things to be thankful for in the NBA this season

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

What if the Chargers didn't trade Eli?

Dez Bryant: Eagles were ‘kinda cheap’

Ray Rice wins appeal, can sign with any team

What's next for the 49ers?

The most tone-deaf tweet ever?

Is Lance a problem for the Hornets?

5 NFL takeaways from Thanksgiving

WATCH: Ronda Rousey talks Eminem

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE

Wrigley renovation may be delayed

Steelers could have been America's Team

John Beilein upset with ESPN

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.