WASHINGTON - Coming to Nationals Park on the third-base side is now becoming old hat for Wil Crowe, 27, who was drafted in the second round in 2017 by the Nationals out of the University of South Carolina.
“It feels normal,” Crowe told Federal Baseball on Monday, standing in the visitor’s clubhouse at Nationals Park before the visiting Pirates faced the Nationals. He still keeps in touch with old teammates Carter Kieboom and Jake Noll, and said he would be sure to say hello to Luis García while he is in D.C. this week.
This is the second time Crowe has been in the visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park, as the Pirates end the series here on Wednesday afternoon.
Crowe worked his way up the ladder in the minor leagues with the Nationals and then made three starts for Washington in 2020 and was 0-2 with an ERA of 11.88.
After that season, he was part of the deal that landed first baseman Josh Bell in a trade with the Pirates.
Crowe was in the rotation for the Pirates last season and was 4-8 with an ERA of 5.48 in 26 games, with 25 starts.
He was then moved to the bullpen and has thrived in that role this year.
“I feel good. In the offseason, I hammered away on some things,” said the Tennessee native.
The results have been very solid.
He threw a scoreless inning Sunday at Tampa Bay and his 15 outings of more than 1.0 innings are tied for the National League lead before Monday’s play.
The right-hander led National League relievers in innings pitched with 39.1 through Sunday.
Crowe began the season by not allowing a run in 13.1 innings and got the first save of his career on April 13 against the Cubs.
Opponents were batting just .195 against him through Sunday and only three of the 11 runners he inherited had scored.
In his first 28 outings this year he was 3-4 with an ERA of 3.27.
“I feel I have done a pretty good job” of making the transition to the bullpen, he said.
Pittsburgh reliever Tyler Beede, in his first season with the Pirates, knows all about Crowe.
Beede played in college at Vanderbilt and faced Crowe, who was at South Carolina.
“He pitched well against us in college,” Beede said Monday.
Bell was with the Pirates from 2016-20.