Nicasio (8-6) gave up an earned run on three hits over two innings in Saturday's 7-4 victory over the Phillies. He struck out three. With rookie Tyler Glasnow forced from the game after three-plus innings with shoulder discomfort, Nicasio came in to eat up some innings and ended up being credited with the victory. The former starter was sharp, throwing 28 of 38 pitches for strikes and notching first-pitch strikes on six of nine hitters. The 29-year-old has been solid in relief since his move to the bullpen in late June, already tallying three victories and two holds over that span.
Nicasio hurled two shutout innings Tuesday, registering his second relief win in the last four days. Since moving to the bullpen on June 26, Nicasio has thrown 8.1 shutout innings with two holds. So long as Pittsburgh continues to match him up against right-handed hitting, the two-pitch pitcher figures to be a competent option.
Nicasio struck out the side on nine pitches in the eighth inning of Monday's game against St. Louis. He followed up his "immaculate" inning with a ninth-inning flyout and a walk before Pittsburgh turned to Neftali Feliz for the save. Nicasio was only pitching so late in the game because the team rested both Tony Watson and Mark Melancon, but he's pitched better out of the bullpen over the last week -- he could pick up a decent number of holds the rest of the way.
Nicasio hurled three scoreless relief innings Monday against the Dodgers. Since returning from the Dominican Republic and moving to the bullpen, Nicasio has put up back-to-back solid outings. The righty struggles with left-handed hitters and the former starter is likely better suited for relief work for the foreseeable future.
Nicasio (personal) is expected to join the bullpen upon his return, at least temporarily, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. While manager Clint Hurdle said Nicasio will be back with the team "sooner [rather] than later," he said Nicasio will be available in relief upon his return, suggesting he is out of the running for Sunday's start against the Dodgers. Wilfredo Boscan would presumably get another turn unless Gerrit Cole (triceps) is cleared to bypass a rehab assignment. Nicasio has been rocked for 16 earned runs on 16.1 innings so far in June.
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