The Pirates Interesting Rotation Gamble
By Tom Smith
Charlie Morton Ground Chuck photoshop.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are betting their offense is up to the task against Boston Red Sox starter Anthony Ranaudo tonight. The right hander has battled in his six starts allowing eight homers since joining the big league team and has an ERA of 6.14 in his past three starts.
The gamble for the Bucs is getting Charlie Morton back in the rotation. Morton, the owner of #ElectricStuff, gets his first start since missing time with a sports hernia. In 14 starts since he had the hernia, he’s put up a 4.29 ERA. On the year, Ground Chuck has what all the Pirates starters have-an ERA under 4–a 3.84 ERA. The Pirates right-hander will toe the PNC rubber rather than starting Francisco Liriano on his normal rest right into a possible…gulp, postseason game. The left-hander could have then pitched against the Brewers and Reds putting Frank the Tank in line for…that, no jinx no jinx, postseason baseball.
But this is about right now for the Pirates.
The ball club feels that Morton sending Vance Worley to the bullpen is the trump card. Worley in the bullpen isn’t a bad thing with the way he has faded as the season moves toward its end. Looking at the recent rotation maneuvering by the Bucs, it seems that the Pirates are going to go with Gerrit Cole if the team should make it to that, ummm….Wild Card game.
Maybe it comes down to this? Morton was strong last postseason along with Liriano and Cole. But more directly, Cole has pitched well against the Giants, while Liriano hasn’t pitched that well against them. It’s a rather signficant difference–Cole with a .619 OPS and Liriano with an .801 OPS but surely, it’s more than just these numbers. [H/T ESPN]
The Pirates control their destiny by continuing to win, but with Jeff Locke, Edinson Volquez and Charlie Morton/Vance Worley going against the Brewers–well….at least its going to be interesting. The Pirates are 1 1/2 games ahead of Milwaukee for the National League’s second Wild Card spot, and 3 1/2 games behind first-place St. Louis in the NL Central.
Andrew McCutchen has been the best in baseball in the month of June