The injuries to Paul Maholm and Kevin Correia leave the Pittsburgh Pirates in a bit of a short term jam when it comes to their starting pitcher on Wednesday. Without Maholm and Correia, the Pirates have a rotation that includes Jeff Karstens, Charlie Morton, James McDonald, Brad Lincoln, and Ross Ohlendorf. However, due to the double header last night, the Pirates will need someone to make one start on Wednesday, before assuming their regular rotation. Here are some of the possibilities for that start.
Jeff Locke – He’s the only starter on the 40-man roster that isn’t on the 25-man roster, but could be considered for a spot start. Bryan Morris has been moved to the bullpen, and Kyle McPherson isn’t ready, as he’s just getting adjusted to AA ball. Interestingly enough, Locke’s scheduled start in Indianapolis is on Wednesday. He’s only made two starts at the AAA level, with three runs on ten hits in 11.1 innings, with a 7:4 K/BB ratio. The Pirates might not want to rush him, or risk hurting his development, for one start.
Garrett Olson – The left hander has been starting in Indianapolis, and hasn’t made a start since August 12th. He’s done well as a starter in AAA, with a 2.92 ERA in 15 starts this year.
Aaron Thompson – If Thompson pitched on Wednesday, he’d be going on five days rest. Like Jeff Locke, Thompson hasn’t seen much time in AAA. He has given up one run on nine hits in 11.2 innings this year in AAA, with a 9:2 K/BB ratio. He’s not on the 40-man roster.
Sean Gallagher – He’s been getting absolutely hammered in AAA this year, and wouldn’t be a good pick at all to make the start. He’s also not on the 40-man roster.
Daniel McCutchen – He pitched an inning last night, although that could be chalked up to a bullpen session. We’ve seen McCutchen go extended outings, such as the five innings he pitched in the Jerry Meals game. He used to be a starter in AAA. This might be the Pirates’ best option if they don’t want to call up someone like Locke, and just want a normal spot starter to make one start. The only problem is that it would shrink the bullpen for the next few days.
Bryan Morris/Justin Wilson – Both have moved to the bullpen, and neither are stretched out for starting.
Rudy Owens – He’s currently on the AAA disabled list.
Brian Burres – He just threw 116 pitches last night.
This might be an interesting time to see Jeff Locke pitch, but if the Pirates only need one start, which they do, then it might be best to go with McCutchen. They don’t have to worry about making a 40-man roster move, and McCutchen is just as good as any of the other options in AAA.