Pittsburgh Pirates Shake Up Starting Rotation

CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 27: Nick Kingham #49 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 27, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 27: Nick Kingham #49 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 27, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /
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Ahead of their weekend series against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Pittsburgh Pirates have shaken up their starting rotation.

With injuries and ineffectiveness continuing to be an issue, the Pittsburgh Pirates keep searching for answers to their starting rotation questions. This weekend in Milwaukee, the team will shake things up a bit.

Right-handed pitcher Rookie Davis, who has made four relief appearances this season, will make his first start as a member of the Pirates on Friday night. He will be followed by Jordan Lyles on Saturday and Steven Brault on Sunday.

Davis will replace Nick Kingham in the Pirate rotation. In 13 games – four starts – this season Kingham owns a 8.91 ERA, 5.16 FIP, a 10.8% walk rate, and he is allowing 1.67 HR/9. His numbers as a starting pitcher are even worse than his overall numbers. As a starter he owns a 9.77 ERA, 5.77 FIP, and he is allowing 2.30 HR/9.

With how poorly he has pitched there is zero reason for Kingham to make another start for the Pirates this season. To be honest, he probably should not be on a MLB roster, but the Pirate pitching staff has been decimated by injuries leaving them with few options.

The good news is Kingham will not start for the team on Friday in Milwaukee. The bad news is the pitcher that is replacing him is not who it should be.

Davis owns a 5.87 ERA, 5.63 FIP, and has allowed two home runs in 7 2/3 innings pitched this season. Prior to Tuesday night’s relief outing against the Braves, Davis had pitched well. Davis was tagged for 3 runs on a walk, two hits, and a home run in his lone inning of work Tuesday night. Prior to this outing, he had allowed 2 runs on five hits, two walks, and seven strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings pitched this season.

Prior to being promoted to the MLB roster on May 25th, Davis had made seven starts at the Triple-A level. In 37 innings pitched for Indianapolis he owned a 5.35 ERA and a 5.44 FIP. He owned a 7.9% walk rate, 16.5% strikeout rate, and allowed an alarming 13 home runs.

Giving Davis a shot in the Pirate rotation is not the worst idea in the world. After all, it’s hard to imagine that he would be worse than Kingham and Brault have been. However, the problem is the Pirates continue to leave Mitch Keller in the minor leagues.

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There is no reason for Keller to not be in the Pirate rotation right now. If the Pirates want to give Davis a look as a starter there is nothing wrong with that, but it should not come at the expense of Keller.

Keller is scheduled to start for Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday night. Instead, that start should be in Milwaukee for the Pirates. If this were the case, Davis could then take the ball instead of Brault on Sunday.

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