Closer Joel Hanrahan once again anchored the Bucco bullpen.

A consistent Bullpen was one of the strengths of the ballclub and paved the way to many victories.

The top five relievers in 2012:

Wins Losses ERA IP
Joel Hanrahan 5 2 2.72 59.2
Jared Hughes 2 2 2.85 75.2
Chris Resop 1 4 3.91 73.2
Jason Grilli 1 6 2.91 58.2
Tony Watson 5 2 3.38 53.1

Other pitchers to make relief appearances: Brad Lincoln, Juan Cruz, Jeff Locke, Kyle McPherson, Chad Qualls, Doug Slaten, Evan Meek, Chris Leroux, Hisanori Takahashi, Bryan Morris, Justin Wilson, Rick van den Hurk, Daniel McCutchen.

For much of the year, the game was just about locked up anytime the bullpen took over.  Hammer and Grilli were lights-out, while Watson and Hughes really pitched well for how inexperienced they were.  Resop, although he got plenty of hate, really fit in well to the middle inning/multiple inning roles.  Other than that, the rest of the bullpen was pieced together for most of the year.  A handful of AAAA guys all had their moments, but ultimately couldn’t find a place in the ‘pen.  Some of this, however, could have been due to the mismanagement of the bullpen almost all year.  Looking forward to 2013, Hanrahan (possible trade) and Grilli (free agent) very well could leave, which would deplete the bullpen.  There is a solid group of young guys, with a few more in AAA hopefully on the way, but the bullpen is a bit of a question mark for next season.  Luckily for the Pirates, finding a group of relievers that make up a successful ‘pen isn’t too difficult, assuming your manager knows how to use them effectively.

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