Pittsburgh Pirates Rotation Spot Shouldn’t Be A Gift


Wandy Rodriguez will start against the Brewers this week.

The Pirates rotation spot that is going to Wandy Rodriguez this week has me concerned.  Rodriguez is going to pitch in Milwaukee after two horrid rehab starts.  The southpaw pitched for the Altoona Curve against Double-A hitters from the Erie Sea Wolves and Bowie Baysox.

It didn’t go real well.

Against Erie, he mowed down hitters early, but late (well, in the fourth inning)  he got rocked and was knocked out of the game after reaching his pitch count.  Just ten outs were recorded-three of them by strikeout.  Four hits, three walks and three earned runs from a three-run bomb.

Against Bowie, he got sixteen outs–four of them by strikeout.  Again early in the game the soft stuff was working, but late it unraveled and Rodriguez gave up two homers, three walks and seven earned runs.

It was much worse than his first start, and now he will start in Milwaukee who will probably have a few hitters that are better than the Bowie Baysox lineup.

We saw a couple quotes from Neal Huntington in the PG.  regarding the rehab starts.  Huntington mentions that sometimes a big leaguer has a different adrenaline level while the Double-A hitters treat it like their World Series.

"You’d like to see everybody have success every time they step on a baseball field but different guys approach it different ways."

My question is this.  Why not tell Wandy to make another rehab start and pitch like his job is on the line?

Wandy Rodriguez will be back in the rotation, the question is how?

It almost sounds like Wandy was working as if it was spring training.  Sure he needs to work on things, but if his approach was less than pitching for his life, I am concerned.  It’s just hard to imagine that he is completely healthy after looking at his work in Double-A.  If he was working on things as Huntington said,  he better have those things corrected by now.  So why didn’t the Bucs challenge him to make another start with a more passionate attitude, hell, even treat it like a big league start.

A spot in the Pirates rotation isn’t a gift anymore.  Why the Bucs seem to be acting like it is bothers me.  The Pirates bullpen has been used quite a bit lately and as such, strong starts will be very important against Milwaukee and New York.  We keep envisioning Wandy getting knocked out early against the Brew Crew and Jeanmar Gomez having to be used in extended duty.  It’s hard not to see that outcome right?

But look.  Brandon Cumpton is the man who earned the spot in the rotation.  Cumpton would have a better chance to give the team what it needs.   What the Pirates don’t need is a pitcher that treats opportunities like a lottery scratch-off ticket.