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Jason Grilli

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Jason Michael Grilli

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[edit] Biographical Information

Jason Grilli made his first appearance with the Detroit Tigers on September 19, 2005, exactly 30 years to the day after his father, Steve Grilli, made his major league debut with the Tigers. The Grillis were the first American father-son duo to save games in the majors since saves became an official stat. They followed two Latino duos, Julio Navarro and Jaime Navarro and Pedro Borbon Sr. and Pedro Borbon Jr.

He was used as a relief pitcher for Team Italy at the 2009 World Baseball Classic in Toronto, and was charged with the loss when Venezuela beat Italy, 7-0. He again pitched for Italy in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Grilli became the closer of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013, following the trade of Joel Hanrahan to the Boston Red Sox. He had an outstanding first month in the role, as he picked up 10 saves in April with an 0.82 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 11 innings. His performance was one of the keys to the Pirates finishing the month in first place in the NL Central and he was named by Major League Baseball as the winner of its Delivery Man of the Month award for April, given to the best relief pitcher in the major leagues. He repeated as the award winner in May, when he converted on all 12 of his save opportunities and had a 1.32 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings. He was named to the All-Star team for the first time, but on July 22nd he had to leave a game against the Washington Nationals with tightness in his forearm; before leaving, he had given up a pair of hits including a two-run homer to Jayson Werth. Vin Mazzaro took over for him and recorded the last out in a 6-5 win. He was then immediately placed on the disabled list and was expected to be out from four to eight weeks; at the time, he was leading the league in saves. He returned to the mound in early September, but Mark Melancon had taken over as closer in the interim; his next save only came on September 21st, in a 4-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds. He finished the season with 33 saves, to go along with an 0-2 record and a 1.97 ERA in 54 games. He finished Pittsburgh's 6-2 win over the Reds in the Wild Card Game on October 1st with a scoreless 9th inning, then did not give up a run in three outings in the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals, saving Game 3 in the process.

Grilli was tagged for 9th-inning home runs on consecutive days by Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers on April 19-20, 2014. In the first game, he was trying to nail down a 7-6 lead when Braun homered with a man on to give the Brewers the win, then the next day, Braun's solo homer wiped out a 2-1 lead, send the game into extra innings. Until those two mishaps, he had been practically unhittable for Brewers batters over the years. Shortly thereafter, on April 26th, he was placed on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his left side; the Pirates actually wanted to disable him a day earlier, but a clerical mistake prevented them from doing so, as the pitcher they wanted to call up in his stead, Jared Hughes, was not yet eligible for promotion.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • NL All-Star (2013)
  • 30 Saves Seasons: 1 (2013)

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