Trevor Williams Throws a Career Best Outing in Pirates’ 3-0 Win

PITTSBURGH — Trevor Williams’ major-league career isn’t all that old, but he turned in a career-best performance Monday night against the Detroit Tigers.

Williams threw seven innings of one-hit, shutout ball as the Pirates beat the Tigers, 3-0.

He faced just two batters over the minimum, as he allowed two walks to go along with the one hit, but he and Francisco Cervelli erased Justin Upton in the fourth inning with a caught stealing.

The longest shutout performance of his major-league career before Monday was three innings of relief last September. The fewest number of hits he’d allowed in a major-league start had been three at the beginning of July. The seven innings pitched equaled a career high and he set a new mark with 107 pitches thrown.

Williams did it all with the thinnest of margins. The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Cervelli’s RBI double that plated Gregory Polanco, but the offense was unable to do any further damage against Tigers starter Jordan Zimmerman until after Williams left the game.

More from Williams on his career night:


“It was just old-fashioned pitching tonight. Old-fashioned, really good pitching tonight. He was less than 50 percent first-pitch strikes, he had eight three-ball counts. It only turned it to walks. Only six guys retired on three pitches or less, so a lot of guys went and stood up there for four of five pitches. So they got looks at him. He mixed in the slider, the curveball, the changeup and the two-seamer was so good tonight. The four-seam fastball was in at the hands. He pitched an extremely solid, solid, aggressive ballgame.”

— Pirates manager Clint Hurdle on Williams’ strong outing.




***John Jaso provided some insurance in the seventh inning with a two-run, pinch-hit home run that scored Cervelli. Jaso caught a hanging curveball from Zimmerman and sent it 412 feet into right-center field. The home run was Jaso’s eighth of the season and his third pinch-hit home run this year. It was also his second hit in four at-bats after snapping an 0 for 34 streak on Aug 2.

“He was probably trying to get it down around my back foot somewhere,” Jaso said. “We’re all human. We make mistakes. I don’t mind that.”

***After being claimed on waivers from San Francisco on Saturday, George Kontos reported to the team on Monday and made his Pirates debut by pitching a perfect eighth inning.

“I’ve been with Kontos since 2006,” Cervelli said. “We played in all the minor leagues. This guy is not a power pitcher. He’s always been the same. When he’s on the mound, he looks so confident, especially with the slider. He played on a team where he went to the World Series, so he knows how to do it. I think it’s going to be an amazing thing for us.”

***Williams’ one-hitter was helped along by a few solid plays from the Pirates’ defense. Sean Rodriguez made a diving play up on a ball up the middle in the second inning, Andrew McCutchen laid out for a fly ball in the right-center gap in the fifth and David Freese picked a one-hopper at third and made a spinning throw to get the lead runner at second base in the seventh. Williams credited the defensive effort for keeping the basepaths clean. The Tigers had men aboard in just three of his seven innings.

“It’s fun turning around, especially seeing Sean Rod back there making a great play,” Williams said. “It’s fun seeing Cutch in center field running. We made some great plays tonight. We had some guys in the right spots on certain ground balls. It’s fun. You keep the ball on the ground and the guys behind me know that I’m not really a big strikeout guy. There’s going to be some action. So guys are on their toes.”

  • If they truly believe in their future with Kuhl and Williams…I agree with all of you saying Nova is the odd one out. Reliable SPs don’t just grow on trees though, so I don’t think it’s as simple as just throwing a Brault in the BP when he’s shown this year that he can mow down the competition in front of himself as a SP. Trading one of the young ones doesn’t seem like a good use of resources either as I’m not sure what a 4 or 5 gets you with a small track record.

    This is that old cliche whenever you say “this is a good problem to have.”

    • Pitching depth does tend to disappear quickly. Just ask this year’s version of the Mets.

      • That situation up there is truly unbelievable. That’s not just bad luck, there has to be something out of sync with the strength and conditioning/training staffs.

  • rickmontgomery
    August 8, 2017 7:39 am

    The runup to next season, barring injury and trades, is going to be very interesting. Cole, Taillon, Nova, Kuhl, Williams, Glasnow, Brault, Kingham, Hutchinson. Who makes the starting rotation? I could see Nova being dealt and one of the last 3 names on my list. Nice problem to think about over the off season. Suppose the Pirates dangle Nova, Freese, Hutchinson, Newman or Tucker and Luplow for a 3rd baseman and an elite prospect at AA or AAA level. Fun to think about what the team might be able to do, especially with money available for payroll.

    • The problem is see is lack of differentiation.

      Kuhl, Williams, Brault, Hutchison, and (probably) Kingham are all pretty much going to give you the same ceiling…a good solid 4/weak #3.

      Cole could be a #1, but isn’t. Taillon may have that potential, but it’s one health issue after another, and Glasnow does but ML hitters keep knocking the snot out of him.

      Nova, on the other hand, always seems to be pitching over his talent level…except when he isn’t.

      How you decide which five of those makes up the rotation is beyond me.

  • Could it be that Nova is the odd man out?
    Yes he had a great start to his Bucs career but the talent of the young guys is starting to surface.
    If Cole is the Ace, Taillon is the 2, you have three guys in Trevor, Chad, Tyler who are making a strong push and Brault is as well- as the future this puts Nova in a tough spot.
    If he’s pitching like the Nova who first came over he’s a lock, but his history suggests an inconsistent player and his last few months have been average. Which is in line with his career, big sample size.
    Perhaps his spot is actually the most available going into next year, and his awesome contract would make dealing him very attractive as well to another club.

    • I have been thinking the same thing. The trend for Trevor and Chad just keeps getting better and I really think Glasnow will be special. And then you have Brault who most seem to dismiss but he just keeps putting up good outings in AAA. Kingham will have to be up next year or traded too.

    • I really believe they should trade Cole in the offseason if they can get something close to a Quintana-like return.

      • 2018 seems to be a year when they might have a better than average chance at a playoff spot. Maybe the last season of Cutch. Spend some of the money they saved this year on an actual third baseman (maybe wishful thinking). Why would you trade your best pitcher for propsects and replace him with a yet to be proven Glasnow?

      • How about a Devers type return Hoptown ? A 3d base prospect with some real power potential to replace Kang.

    • Nova has been pretty good for the Pirates this year. He’s had a tough stretch of late but overall quite good. Any predictions of the future should put Cole as a question mark on the team after 2018. They won’t let him just walk and get nothing. They’ll need an ace-type pitcher to materialize to replace Cole. Nova is a nice steady-eddie type guy to have in there to hold things together. I don’t see him going anywhere for 2018 if they plan to challenge for a playoff spot in 2018.

  • It really has been an up and down season for the Pirates! Refreshing that they got an outstanding outing from T Williams! It would be nice to see them get back to .500 and see where they can go. The Cubs haven;t run away, just yet. Would be good to keep this interesting. Good that they have “Serpico” back and nice to see Cutch back to being Cutch – I never doubted him!

  • Williams had been solid lately, he might be part of this rotation long term.

  • TurnerWardHitsTheWall
    August 7, 2017 10:22 pm

    Buccos getting on a roll. Thanks Serpico!

  • Who’s going to the bullpen when Glasnow is tested again? (there’s no way he’s not given another chance at starting, no?)

    I’ve always thought it would be Williams but seems like he’s pitching better and better every time, really earning that spot.

    • Won’t happen this year unless the Pirates are out of the race in September. A lot can happen in the off season, and I’d expect Glasnow to get another shot early next year.

    • I agree that Williams has earned his spot for awhile. I kinda think Glasnow isn’t coming up until rosters expand in September and either Glasnow or Kuhl get a spot in the bullpen.

    • Probably depends on where they are at the time. If they are in a pennant race, he might just stay with Indianapolis through their playoffs. If they look to be out of it, no one has to leave, they can go with a six-man rotation. We are also talking about four weeks down the line, so a lot can change.

      • And, since the AS Break, our 3 best SP’s are Cole, Williams, and Kuhl, all 3.00 ERA or below and all 3 averaging 6 innings a start. A much needed stellar performance by Williams.

        TG is still at least 2 weeks+ until he cannot possibly reach a full year of service time? I would love to see him get back though, because he has earned it. I like the 6 man rotation suggestion.

        The AAA Rotation of Glasnow, Brault, Kingham, Holmes, and Hutchison is a very, very good young Rotation.

      • Oh I meant to ask the long term rotation spots but I guess it’s too early to ask that. It’ll be extra interesting to see where Kingham, Glasnow, Kuhl and Williams end up.

        Personally I don’t think there’s any way we don’t give Glasnow a starting role. But if Williams and Kuhl keep on pitching like this.. it really looks hard to move them to pen, especially Williams who I would have chosen to move. Unless we use a 6 man rotation which I thought Hurdle didn’t like?

      • ballparkfranks
        August 8, 2017 10:18 am

        1. Trade Chad Kuhl or Trevor Williams, along with Fresse to Texas for Adrian Beltre ($18 million in final year of contract)..
        2. Keep Cutch and Cole and win World Series in 2018.

        • I know you never have enough pitching, but a couple of these high end arms will bring some needed help