Pirates notebook: Liriano would open postseason if squad reaches October, Hurdle says
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has cautioned that the club's projected rotation after this weekend is written in pencil, but at the moment Francisco Liriano is in line to open the postseason for the Pirates should they advance to October.
Hurdle said the team also has discussed throwing Liriano on short rest in the final series at Cincinnati, if needed. A.J. Burnett projects as the club's No. 2 postseason starter, with Charlie Morton and rookie Gerrit Cole following as the third and fourth options.
Liriano (16-7, 2.92 ERA) has been the team's best starter this season, though he's fallen off some in the second half.
“If there were no changes, Liriano would be able to pitch a play-in game or the first wild card game, which isn't a bad option,” Hurdle said. “We'll release the next rotation when it comes out, but we have every opportunity to stay on line. We'll see if we need to make any adjustment based upon the schedule, based upon wins and losses (or) opportunity.”
Hurdle again indicated there are no workload restrictions on Cole, who entered his Thursday start against the Padres with a 1.35 ERA in three September starts.
If the Pirates skip Jeff Locke's final start and make no other rotation adjustments, Cole is in line to pitch twice more in the regular season, including the final regular season game in Cincinnati. But for now, the only concrete plans are Liriano will pitch Friday's series opener against the Reds and he will be followed by Burnett and Locke.
Pirates pause Wilson
Pirates left-handed reliever Justin Wilson has only made four appearances in September and he has not pitched since Sept. 13 against the Cubs.
Wilson's fastball velocity, which has averaged 95 mph this season, dropped to 92 mph in his last appearance. Hurdle said Wilson is not injured, rather that the club is simply reducing his workload. Wilson entered Thursday with 71 innings pitched in his first year as a relief pitcher.
“We wanted to hit the pause button with him similar as we did with Jeff Locke,” Hurdle said. “He was able to keep throwing off flat ground. He'll be available for Saturday for sure. It's a different year your first year in the bullpen … I made calls to old teammates about their first years in the bullpen, there were interesting stories. He's fine. It was the volume of work.”
McCutchen looks the other way
Last season, 15 of Andrew McCutchen's 31 home runs landed to the right of the center field distance marker in major league ballparks. This season, McCutchen has hit seven home runs to the opposite field, including his two-run shot on Wednesday night. McCutchen has said he believes he's hitting the ball with the same authority the other way this season, but he's not sure why not as many balls have been home runs.
Starling Marte was not in Thursday's lineup because his wife was giving birth to their first child. He was replaced by Jose Tabata in left field. … Starting catcher Russell Martin was given a second straight day off as Tony Sanchez was in the lineup for Cole's start Thursday.
Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates likely to seek pitcher, catcher when free agency starts
- Pirates must weigh risk, reward in attempt to sign Martin
- Pirates acquire infielder from Indians, designate Axford, Gomez for assignment
- Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister named Rangers manager
- Pirates to end spring in Philadelphia again, sign Stinson to minor league deal