PITTSBURGH — In Clint Hurdle’s pre-game meeting with the media, he announced the rotation through the second game in Colorado on September 22nd; however, he was mum on who was next in line. A full rotation for the next ten days is as follows:
- Francisco Liriano tomorrow in the series finale vs. the Brewers
- Tuesday, 9/15, Game 1 vs. Cubs: Gerrit Cole
- Tuesday, 9/15, Game 2 vs. Cubs: J.A. Happ
- Wednesday, 9/16 vs. Cubs: A.J. Burnett
- Thursday, 9/17 vs. Cubs: Charlie Morton
- Friday, 9/18 @ LAD: Jeff Locke
- Saturday, 9/19 @ LAD: Francisco Liriano
- Sunday, 9/20 @ LAD: Gerrit Cole
- Monday, 9/21 @ COL: A.J. Burnett
- Tuesday, 9/22 @ COL: J.A. Happ
In dissecting the lineup as it is currently set, Liriano, Cole, and Burnett will all pitch on normal rest while Happ will get an extra day rest between his upcoming starts. Hurdle said that they currently have a plan on who will be starting after Tuesday, the 22nd, but they do not want to release that information at the moment.
“That’s where we’ll hit pause right there,” Hurdle said. “We have it mapped out further, but we’ll wait and see how it plays out.”
Pirates Utilizing Monday Off-Day to Give Players Rest
Jung-Ho Kang has been one of the guys to not see much time off lately, and Clint Hurdle was asked if Kang may need some additional rest this time of the year.
“We think so. With a day off Monday for everybody, we are trying to be more purposeful. You may see a guy or two off tomorrow.”
Hurdle elaborated on making sure that guys are getting rest this time of the year, saying that it was an objective going into this season to monitor playing time for everyday players. They have employed many different methods this season to be sure that players remain fresh.
“I use a lot of information and I rely upon the people here that have more knowledge of rest, reps, and workload,” Hurdle said, praising the Pirates’ training staff. “We have some metrics we use as well, and I accumulate the information and talk to those guys personally on what they are seeing. How are the guys reacting in the training room? How are they doing with their recovery to play programs?”
Hurdle said that it is important for players to have knowledge on if they are playing or not before getting to the ballpark that day.
“We have some guys that are at 30-32 games where they’ve been involved in the games. They may not have started 33, but we’ve tracked it since the beginning of the season. It was one of our objectives, and we’re still working through trying to put together a better metric program along the lines of purposeful rest. It’s still a work in progress, but it is something we’re cognitive of, and we’re really paying attention to . . . You get certain times of the season where these guys are better served with their work on the field if we get them some down time periodically.”
Marte Praised for Toughness
Starling Marte was originally in the starting lineup, but he was scratched a little before 5 PM due to a stomach illness. He did not start yesterday to rest an extremely sore shoulder after being hit by a mid-90s fastball on Thursday night. Hurdle was extremely complimentary of Starling Marte’s toughness before the game.
“Foremost, he’s a very tough young man. He hasn’t just been dinged, he’s been splattered a couple times. That ball the other night hit him very hard. When a ball hits you and just drops, that’s usually a sign there has been solid contact made.”
Marte has been one of the players that Hurdle says wants to play even when he is not 100%. In the past, Hurdle said that some players would ask for a game or two off to try to rest up, while Starling Marte is the opposite.
“It shows his desire to want to play. In Starling’s case, he just wants to get back out there. He’s not worried about feeling really good… he just wants to get back out there.”
Hurdle Gives Nod to Jordy Mercer
Jordy Mercer has started 13 of a possible 19 games since returning from the disabled list on August 23rd, and he has started eight of the team’s last nine games. While Hurdle was asked about Aramis Ramirez’s play at first base, he may have tipped his cap to the player he trusts the most at the shortstop position.
“Mercer might be the only guy we have that can make that snap tag on that guy at second base. That’s one of the best tags you’ll ever see any infielder put on a player — a direct route from a [high] throw back down to get that guy at second base.”