Williams allowed one earned run in 5.1 innings Wednesday against Minnesota. He struck out eight batters while throwing 97 pitches.
The right-hander will likely start the second game of the season in Detroit, though the team hasn't made an official announcement. After struggling in his first start last year, Williams went on to compile a 3.65 ERA in his ensuing 24 starts (135.2 innings) -- that earned-run average dropped even further (3.09 ERA in 122.1 innings) excluding games against St. Louis. While he doesn't post great strikeout numbers (7.0 K/9) he presents fantasy owners with a serviceable option, especially at PNC Park.
Williams appears to be in line for a rotation spot to begin spring training, Adam Berry of MLB.com reports.
The 25-year-old held his own during his first full season in the majors, sporting a 4.07 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP to go with a 0.8 HR/9. His strikeout numbers were less than stellar (7.0 K/9), but his 4.07 FIP suggests that what we saw from Williams last season is what we'll get. At the very least, he's worth a look as a streaming option when he's pitching at home since he produced a 3.45 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP in 88.2 frames at PNC Park last year.
Williams (7-9) allowed one run on three hits and three walks across six innings to earn the win Tuesday against the Orioles. He struck out six.
Williams was extremely effective in this one, scattering three baserunners before allowing a solo home run to Chris Davis with two outs in the sixth inning. He has now gone at least five innings while allowing two runs or fewer in five of his last six starts to lower his ERA to a respectable 4.07. One of the club's less heralded young pitchers, Williams made strides this season toward becoming a solid arm in the middle of the rotation. He is not scheduled to appear again this year and will look to carry his growth over to the 2018 campaign.
Williams (6-9) allowed one run across five innings while taking a loss Tuesday against the Brewers, yielding three hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
Williams was able to scatter baserunners effectively, but he was victimized for a solo home run by Domingo Santana in the fourth inning. Unfortunately, Chase Anderson delivered a gem on the other end, sinking Williams to his ninth loss. Still, he's gone at least five innings while allowing two earned runs or fewer in four of his last five starts ahead of his next turn Tuesday against the Orioles.
Williams will start Tuesday's game against the Brewers, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Williams and Jameson Taillon were dropped from the rotation last week to make room for newcomers Steven Brault and Tyler Glasnow, but the former duo will rejoin the starting ranks and take the hill for the Pirates' first two games of the series against Milwaukee. Brault is still in line to start Wednesday's series finale, so it appears that Glasnow could move to the bullpen to accommodate the new arrivals, which would leave the Pirates with a six-man rotation this week. Though Williams struggled in his last outing Sept. 8, he's carried a 3.64 ERA since the All-Star break, which might be enough to keep his starting role relatively secure, especially with Chad Kuhl struggling of late and seemingly most vulnerable of losing his rotation spot should manger Clint Hurdle make further changes over the final few weeks of the season.
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