Pirates Pitchers Face Important Week
By Tom Smith
Feb 28, 2014; Dunedin, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) pitches during the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Florida Auto Exchange Park. Toronto Blue Jays defeated Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
The Pittsburgh Pirates starters will be able to begin answering questions that swirled this offseason. Does this team have enough depth? Is it experienced enough? Can the arms in the mix avoid nagging injuries like what Jeff Locke is fighting through at the moment? Will they be able to fight through the dead arm period?
The questions can start to be answered today in Fort Myers against the Twins. Gerrit Cole, the owner of a 9.00 ERA this spring, will continue to get back in form against a Minnesota lineup that shouldn’t provide too much trouble. The Twins, who were shut down by David Price yesterday, will send right-hander Kevin Correia who hasn’t allowed an earned run this spring.
The Pirates announced today that Jeanmar Gomez will get the start tomorrow against everyone’s favorite AL team, the Tampa Bay Rays. It will be a good test as the Bucs stretch out the right-hander who thrived as he rediscovered himself in the 2013 season.
The remainder of the week will see Pirates starters trying to get back on track after a strong start. Francisco Liriano and Charlie Morton are two arms that I am not concerned with heading into the season.
May 18, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Wandy Rodriguez (51) looks on from the dugout against the Houston Astros during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Houston Astros won 4-2 in eleven innings. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
But we will watch Wandy Rodriguez very closely as the southpaw looks like he is right back where he needs to be, firmly planted in the starting five. Anything would be better than watching sad Wandy on the Bucs bench–those pics became so damn familiar recently.
Jul 26, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez (51) looks on from the dugout during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Of course the pitcher everyone loves to hate will be under a watchful eye. Edinson Volquez received some kind words from his GM. The Pirates Neal Huntington said that he saw a few good things around those long balls hit by J.J. Hardy and Chris Davis of the Orioles on Sunday.
Tony Sanchez backed up Volquez which was cool. But positive results need to start showing for the Pirates big offseason acquisition, later this week would be a good time to see it.