Do-or-Die Time for James McDonald: Hurdle Continues to Juggle Pittsburgh Pirates Rotation
By Tom Smith
JMac is do-or-lose Friday night
The Pittsburgh Pirates rotation has went from rock solid to rocky in the second half of 2012. The Bucs have had injuries and some awful outings throughout the season, but there is no better time for the pitching staff to step up than in the final 20 games of the regular season.
A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez pitched very well in Cincy. Kevin Correia was good enough, but just couldn’t get a strikeout to save his ass. Now it looks like Jeff Karstens is ready to get back on the mound.
But he won’t be on the mound as a starter, instead when the Bucs roll into Wrigley for a do-or–die four game series against the Cubbies, Karstens will be working out of the bullpen. Correia is going to take Karstens turn in the rotation.
But James McDonald might be the true do-or-die guy in Chicago. If you look at the numbers below, JMac has been bad, really bad in the second half of 2012. Hurdle will send McDonald to the bump in Wrigley Friday with the knowledge that the Buccos have dropped eight of his last eleven starts since the All-Star break.
The big strikeout numbers have diminished for JMac–he now finds the middle of the zone rather than missing bats like he was so effective doing in the first half of the season.
Wandy Rodriguez, Jeff Locke and then Correia will round out the starters.
Hurdle did not say if McDonald would make his next start which should come next week. It probably wasn’t an oversight.
Tom Singer noted that Kyle McPherson might get a start.
Seemingly this would come if JMac gets knocked around Friday night.
"“If the opportunity presents itself,” Hurdle said, “I’d like to give the ball for a start to McPherson.”"
McPherson has pitched 10.2 innings and allowed eight hits. The big right hander has given up two earned runs, with one of those being a solo homer to Scott Rolen
Before the All-Star Break, the Pirates pitching numbers were very positive.
But since the All-Star Game, the numbers aren’t as sexy.