Pittsburgh Pirates Wake-Up Call – trouble against the Central


Welcome to the Pittsburgh Pirates Wake-Up Call, a daily feature here at RumBunter.com. Every morning at 9 AM, one of us will give you our random thoughts on the goings-on around the Pirates’ organization, and we’ll throw out a few links to some good Pirates-related items from around the web.

Pirates continue to struggle against the NL Central

That is one amazing stat. The Pirates fell to the Brewers last night 7-4 in a game that was, well, a dud. Gerrit Cole was hit hard from the start, giving up three runs before registering an out, and the Pirates only managed one hit through four innings in a game that felt eerily reminiscent to the one the two teams played to open the second half of the season. The Cardinals also won last night, so the Pirates have fallen to six games back in the NL Central. The team may need to play incredible ball the rest of the way to even sniff that division title.

For some reason, the Pirates can’t capitalize against the teams in the NL Central. This is an unfortunate phenomenon, considering how bad the Brewers and the Reds are. These are two teams that the Pirates should use to beat up on, but they just can’t. And with two of these NL Central foes (the Cardinals and the Cubs) all but surely making the playoffs, that may be a problem later on.

If Cole doesn’t pitch like an ace come playoff time…

The Pirates may be in trouble. Let’s not over-evaluate one start, but coming off a poor month of August (at least, by Cole’s standards), Cole hasn’t been pitching like the ace recently that we’ve seen him be this season. Can the Pirates succeed in the postseason with a sub-par Cole and Francisco Liriano and an average A.J. Burnett? Only time will tell, but as much as starting pitching is valued in the playoffs, it’s not the be-all end-all. The Royals made it pretty far last season without a dynamic rotation. If the Pittsburgh starters can toss four or five good innings, I could see Hurdle yanking them early in favor of the great bullpen that the team has. Joe Blanton could be a great long relief option, and Joakim Soria, Jared Hughes, Tony Watson, and Mark Melancon will be used a lot in the playoffs. Let’s not worry about the postseason rotation too much just yet, though, especially considering a Wild Card playoff game may come first.

More from Pirates News

Around the net

Bill West of the Tribune-Review writes that Jordy Mercer isn’t upset about his reduced playoff time since he has returned from the disabled list. He notes that depth is a common theme of World Series’ teams. Check it out.

Bill Brink of the Post-Gazette notes the call-ups that the Pirates made now that the rosters have expanded. More players will be called up, but the first wave is already here. Check it out.

Andrew McCutchen makes CBS Sports’ current Top 10 players in baseball right now. Definitely check it out.

Hopefully the Pittsburgh Pirates can vanquish their demons against their NL Central foes soon, considering they’ll be seeing them a lot down the stretch.

Next: Jung Ho Kang proving he belongs at Major League level