Pirates Notebook: Rotation Could be Shuffling Again; Marte and Mercer Injury Notes

The Pirates had opportunities to capitalize and rally back against St. Louis on Saturday. But their several failed attempts dropped them to seven games out of the National League Central in a big series against the Cardinals. The red birds moved within one game behind the Pirates for the second spot in the Wild Card after losing the one-run game.

10 men were left on the bases as the club went a combined 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position. Andrew McCutchen had a rough day at the plate going 0-for-5 stranding six of his own.

Left-hander Erik Bedard allowed five runs over his 4.2 innings, and the Pirates were able to battle twice to tie up the game with his deficits. But a two-run fifth inning, the left-hander’s final work proved to be costly in the loss.

The Pirates had the opportunity to battle back in both the eighth and ninth innings, but were unsuccessful. Garrett Jones and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison both picked up base knocks in the eighth, but two strikeouts and a fly out left them both stranded.

In the ninth, the Pirates loaded the bases against closer Jason Motte with no outs. Back-to-back singles and a hit by pitch threatened the two-run Cardinals lead. McCutchen grounded into a force out, which allowed Gaby Sanchez to score, who doubled earlier. Jones and Harrison were unable to drive in the tying run from third as they dropped to 66-54 on the season.

Over their last six games the Pirates are batting just .180 (9-for-50) with runners in scoring position, and during that span are just 2-4.


Rotation Could See Changes Soon

The Pirates rotation could see some changes coming on the horizon. The rotation after Sunday is TBA for the San Diego series. Manager Clint Hurdle originally said that he was sticking with the six-man rotation until the off-day on the 23rd, but that could change.

With Neil Walker currently sidelined with a right pinky finger injury, the club is playing with a short bench. It also forces the bullpen to six arms, instead of seven due to the extra starter in the rotation. Hurdle could decide to move Kevin Correia back to the bullpen, to even out the arms.

There also could just be shuffling to give veteran A.J. Burnett his regular five days rest. That move would push left-hander Wandy Rodriguez back to Wednesday, giving Burnett the start on Tuesday in San Diego. Rodriguez has struggled since the Pirates acquired him at the trade deadline, and could benefit from the extra day of rest.


Marte Exits With Injury

Starling Marte was removed from the game due to discomfort in his right side. The outfielder tweaked his right oblique while running the bases. The rookie was replaced by Yamaico Navarro in left field in the seventh inning. Marte went 1-for-2 with a single and was also hit by a pitch.


Mercer to Undergo X-Rays

Jordy Mercer was hit by a pitch in the ninth inning, and after being examined by the Pirates training staff, remained in the game. The infielder was later sent to get x-rays after the game. Initial x-rays showed no break in his right wrist.

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  • Will Beckley

    They loaded the bases with no outs in the 9th, not one out. Cutch grounded out with the bases loaded for the first out. Jones then struck out for the 2nd, and then Harrison. Barajas is an absolute hole in the lineup every time he’s out there. I made the argument in the 8th inning that they’re better off with a pitcher at the plate. At least then they’ll just lay down the bunt to move the runners over rather than having Barajas either K or hit into a DP, since that’s all he does.

  • Will

    Doesn’t sound like Mercer will go to the DL either; but hypothetically, if he did – has Holt’s quick start in AAA pushed him past D’Arnoud on the depth chart?

    • Ian Rothermund

      It should have. Realistically, if the Pieates org. hadn’t been so focused on nursing D’arneau along, holt would have started the year in AAA. I think his initial success just means he was ready to hit the ground running, and also that, just like any other new player…there’s still a limited book on him in AAA.

      • whiteAngus

        realistically, darn-neaux is a superior athlete to both holt and mercer which is absolutely why the bucs have “nursed” him along. but just because Holt has had a nice year at the plate doesnt push him past dar-noh on the depth chart. the same people argued about #freematthague as they have with #freebrockholt… just sayin.

        • Ian Rothermund

          Well I don’t think either one of them belong in the bigs this season, but starting off next year, I think they have to be viewed on the same level. Also, agreed on the aspect of D’arneau’s athleticism, but at some point the numbers have to matter. 2013 will be an important year for him to put up or shut up.

  • Bryan Graham

    I am more than a little perplexed at how it is automatically Correia being moved to the bullpen. Assuming J-Mac is back and of course Burnett are your top 2, but which of the other starters is pitching even with Correia? He definitely isn’t spectacular, but has been very consistent. In a playoff run, I will take his consistency over what Karstens, Rodriguez, and Bedard have been doing.

    • john.alcorn

      Yep consistently bad. I’ll take the chance that a guy can pitch you to a win over Correia every time. In fact, he should be off the team and replaced with a useful reliever.

      • Bryan Graham

        He has been better than the 3 I mentioned, he goes 6 innings and gives up 3 runs every outing. You plainly aren’t being honest about how Correia has pitched. The only pitcher of the other 3 I mentioned that I feel can “pitch” you to a win right now is Karstens and he hasn’t shown much of that abiliity recently.

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