Pirates Notebook: Rotation Woes

The Pirates have some interesting situations coming up in the next week with their starting rotation.  Charlie Morton is scheduled to make the start tomorrow against the Astros, and Zach Duke is scheduled to go up against Milwaukee on Monday.  After that, things get kind of tricky.

Tuesday’s starter is scheduled to be Daniel McCutchen.  However, McCutchen isn’t exactly going on five days rest.  After throwing over 80 pitches on Thursday, McCutchen came on to pitch an inning in relief tonight.  Now the inning of relief may not be serious, since McCutchen left pretty early in his start on Thursday, and because McCutchen most likely would have had a bullpen session scheduled between his starts, so this could count as that.

If McCutchen is unable to go on Tuesday, things get tricky.  Kevin Hart wouldn’t be available, since he pitched for Indianapolis on Friday, and would be going on four days rest.  Brad Lincoln or Donald Veal could be held from their starts in Indianapolis, but according to Rob Biertempfel, McCutchen is currently scheduled to make the start.  Holding Veal or Lincoln is something that would have to be decided in the next day or two, before the start on Tuesday.

We also got the following update on Ross Ohlendorf today from Chuck Finder at the PPG:

Ohlendorf still expects to stay on the disabled list past Tuesday, when his 15-day period elapses. He will return to the Pirates’ rotation “when it’s ready, that’s what it looks like,” he said of his slow-recovering back. “Assuming things keep going well — and I’m encouraged that they will — I think I should throw [a rehab assignment] while the team is on the road still,” meaning the middle to late part of this week. He then could start for the Pirates four to five days after that, provided his arm strength was sufficient.

That rules Ohlendorf out from returning to the majors this week, which not only rules him out for Tuesday, but anything following the Tuesday start.  The only viable option for the Pirates on Tuesday, if it is decided that McCutchen won’t be able to make the start, would be Brian Burres.

Paul Maholm would be scheduled for Wednesday, but that still leaves a need for a starter on Thursday.  That would have been Chris Jakubauskas, although it’s unknown whether he’ll be able to start after getting hit in the head with a line drive tonight.  Ohlendorf won’t be back in time for this start.  Veal and Lincoln would be going on less than five days of rest.  That leaves Kevin Hart as an option to make the start.  The Pirates would have to hold him from his next start for Indianapolis, which should be on Wednesday.

The Pirates have some options.  Personally I wouldn’t start McCutchen on Tuesday.  Between his horrible starts this season, and the limited rest, I’d rather see someone else, even if that’s Brian Burres.  Worst case they could keep McCutchen for Thursday’s start.  If McCutchen does make Tuesday’s start, I wouldn’t expect him to go that long.  In fact, depending on what happens with Jakubauskas, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Burres return to cover a few innings for McCutchen’s start (Burres could only return if Jakubauskas goes on the DL).  If McCutchen does start Tuesday, I’d go with Kevin Hart on Thursday.

Goats of the Game
The bottom five players of the game, according to FanGraphs.  WPA stands for “Win Probability Added” and represents the impact the player had on his team’s chances of winning.  It’s based off of percentages, with each team starting the game with a 50% chance to win.  It is presented in decimal form, so .152 would equal 15.2%, meaning the player in question would have increased his team’s chances of winning by 15.2%.



1. D.J. Carrasco: -.255 WPA
2. Jack Taschner: -.097 WPA
3. Garrett Jones: -.095 WPA
4. Andrew McCutchen: -.059 WPA
5. Lastings Milledge: -.058 WPA
Other Stuff
-The Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect Watch for 4/24 is up.

-The Pirates traded Jonathan Van Every to the Red Sox for a player to be named later.  Van Every will go to the majors to help the Red Sox outfield while Boston is without Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury, who are both on the disabled list.

-The player pages for the entire Bradenton Marauders team are now finished.  Check out the BUCCO Fans Player Pages to see the updates.  One last team to do, and that’s West Virginia.  I’ll be completing the other teams once the short season leagues are finished.

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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