Jul 25, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (34) reacts in the dugout against the Washington Nationals during the fourth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Yes, I’ve harped incessantly via articles and podcasts and twitter about how the Pirates should pursue a starting pitcher. But I believe it to my core that getting an effective starting pitcher could prove the difference between a one-game Wild Card berth against Madison Bumgarner and a five-game series with Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano, and A.J. Burnett (plus said pitcher potentially) or a trip to the World Series. Huntington has definitely looked into a starter, but right now, it seems like the price for one might be out of his range.
Of course the Pirates want to get a starting pitcher. Jeff Locke and Charlie Morton are what they are: average to below-average number five starters. Locke is a lefty, and throws the rare fantastic start, but that’s about all. And Morton has fallen not so gracefully back to earth after a stellar start to his year. The biggest concern of all, however, has to be the sudden drop-off of Burnett after the All-Star break, who has allowed at least five runs in his last three starts and now has an ERA over 3.00 and a WHIP north of 1.30. And we all know his poor postseason history. Who knows if Huntington is just doing his GM thing by saying he can’t acquire a pitcher, hoping the price for one will drop. I sure hope so, but only time will tell.
From one strength to a potential weakness, let’s next look at the Pirates bench.
Next: The next men up