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Saturday, December 10, 2022

Polanco returns to lineup, Morton to start on Tuesday

Gregory Polanco will get the start today in right field, hitting 8th in the lineup in the series finale against the Cubs. Jacob Turner — who has given up an .808 OPS against lefties — will start with the Cubs.

“We keep having optimism that he’s getting closer,” Clint Hurdle said. “We’ll give him a couple more opportunities to put some at bats today.”

After a hot start following his call up, opposing pitchers made adjustments to their approach against Polanco. Now Polanco has to adjust back, Hurdle said.

“He had as productive first couple weeks as any young player can have,” Hurdle said. “We are engaged in a society here in sports that, that information went viral throughout the league. Everybody saw what he could hit. So they counter-punched. How are they going to attack? Well, he handled hard, he handled middle, he handled thigh. Let’s go down and away, lets spin soft down, go hard up.”

Hurdle liked the progress Polanco made in his brief demotion to the minors.

“He went down just to get at bats, to look out over the plate, to hold your backside. Now, here, it’s continued along those lines,” Hurdle said.

And since he’s come back up to the minors, he’s worked to continue that progress.

“He’s got to recalibrate, he’s got to find a right way to reboot,” Hurdle said. “He’s worked extremely hard since he’s been back, whether it be off the spin machine, in velocity in the cage, taking it out on the field, some directional hitting. We think he’s close.”

In addition to Polanco’s return to the lineup today, Charlie Morton will return to the rotation against the Red Sox on Tuesday. He’ll take the place of Vance Worley.

“He could either piggy back Charlie’s start, or play out of the bullpen,” Hurdle said.

After Morton, Francisco Liriano will start on Wednesday and Gerrit Cole on Thursday.

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When are the umpires going to notice that low pitches to Gregory are middle of the zone strikes to average height players, lol. It has to be frustrating to him to be expected to swing at some of those pitches and I think that causes that often uppercut swing of his.


I sure hope he is throwing a lot better than he was in his AA start in Altoona.

John Janesko

I don’t understand this rotation decision. Worley has outperformed Morton this year, and he is healthy. Also, Morton has said that his sports hernia hurts more the longer he pitches, therefore sending him to the bullpen makes more sense. I just don’t like breaking up a rotation that’s been doing fine, especially with a pitcher who isn’t 100%

Lukas Sutton

Worley has been having odd velo issues and really performing very average, and below so, in the last month. Worley isnt the pitcher he was a few months ago. Morton is worth a few starts to see how if he is healthy enough to be productive.

John Janesko

In his last 3 starts he has a 3.37 era and the pirates have won all 3 of those starts. He has the best numbers in the rotation, no reason to take him out until it is proven he can’t perform.

Lukas Sutton

ERA is nearly useless in showing how productive a pitcher was. Vance only got beyond the 6th in 1 of those starts. His ERA last month was 3.65, and trending downwards. Since, and including, his August 13th start 3 or more runs 4 times (with one of the non-3 run starts being a 2 run 4.2 inning affair) and shown a lack of ability to get deep into games. His xFIP since, and including, August has him as a mid-high 3 pitcher. Morton may not be all that much better, but it is worth finding that out in 1-2 starts. The playoff rotation already has 3 guys, and the 4th SP doesnt get used all that often in the playoffs, particularly if the team gets down by that 4th game. Pirates arent handing the ball to Worley or Morton down 2-1 in a series, they go with Liriano or Cole on 4 days rest.


I believe it’s because Worley was topping out at 89 last outing. Skipping a turn for rest may be warranted.

Chuck will give you 4-5 good innings. Unfortunately he does that while pitching six.

S Brooks

If the Bucs are smart about this, they’ll spot Worley in the last week to set up the playoff rotation. As it stands now, Liriano and Cole would be in line to start the last two games against Cincinnati, which of course you want if they’re still fighting for the second WC, but if they have that sewn up those guys need to be in line for the WC and NLDS.

If the Bucs get some separation from Milwaukee and Atlanta, they should set up for a 1-2-3 of Frankie-Cole-Volquez (did I just type Volquez as my NLDS Game2 starter?!?). This would entail two turns of a six-man rotation with the two horses going on an extra day’s rest, but keeping Volquez on normal rest.

Lukas Sutton

Most teams rearrange the rotation once things are figured out. Ill guarantee they wont have Liriano and Cole in the last two starts unless they have to for a WC spot. If they secure a WC spot they should move the rotation.

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