He allowed a hit to the only batter he faced, but right fielder Gregory Polanco threw out a runner attempting to score. As a result, Hudson hasn't allowed an earned run in his last seven outings (5.1 innings). He's pitched mostly in low-leverage situations but is slowly regaining the trust of management. Hudson has compiled a 4.34 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and 35:16 K:BB in 37.1 innings. It was thought in some circles that he could take over the closer's duties when Tony Watson faltered or was traded, but Felipe Rivero leap-frogged Hudson and has showed no signs of slowing down.
He surrendered a solo homer to break a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning and has now given up six home runs in only 31 innings. Hudson hasn't delivered the goods since Pittsburgh signed the free agent to a two-year, $11-million contract over the winter. His 4.1 BB/9 is the worst since his rookie season and a 5.23 ERA nearly mirrors that of his prior campaign (5.22). Hudson has proven to be a bust, but the Bucs have few alternatives and continue to stand by him.
After starting the season as the primary set-up man for manager Clint Hurdle, Hudson has watched his stock drop throughout the season as he struggles to adjust to his first season away from Arizona since 2010. Even excluding his disaster of a game in Miami when he gave up five runs and only recorded one out, his ERA is still frightfully high at 4.09. The game against Miami certainly inflated his stats, but underneath that blunder sits a pitcher who has had trouble holding his own in Pittsburgh's bullpen.
Hudson saw his ERA jump from 5.59 to 9.90 because of the outing, which was a fitting way to end a relatively dismal first month of the season. The 30-year-old still operates as Pittsburgh's primary setup man and has recorded seven holds, but he's allowed 11 runs over 10 innings.
Manager Clint Hurdle said he expects his seventh, eighth and ninth innings to line up with Felipe Rivero, Hudson and closer Tony Watson. Hudson will get the first chance to close if Watson can't go, but Rivero is waiting in the wings.
Pirates GM Neal Huntington announced the team's pecking order for saves, listing Watson first and then Hudson and Felipe Rivero. Huntington typically doesn't permit his relievers to pitch three straight days, giving Hudson the chance to potentially close after Watson has thrown in back-to-back calendar days. It wouldn't be surprising to see the Pirates move Watson (who will become a free agent after 2017) at the trade deadline, freeing up Hudson to close in the second half of the season.
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