Pirates Notebook: Six Starters But Not a Six-Man Rotation

The Pirates go for their 27th series win of the season at 1:35 PM against the Brewers, and Francisco Liriano takes the mound for the Pirates. The Bucs are 12-1 in Liriano’s last 13 starts, and they have won their last nine games that he has started at home.

Clint Hurdle spoke yesterday about giving some players rest with the off-day on Monday and the upcoming doubleheader on Tuesday. Gregory Polanco is the guy getting rest today, with Travis Snider getting his second start since re-joining the Pirates in right field.

Don’t Call It a Six Man Rotation

Clint Hurdle announced that Jeff Locke and Francisco Liriano are tentatively scheduled to pitch the last two games of the Pirates’ series in Colorado on September 23rd & 24th. With the rotation reported yesterday, and adding the new information, the rotation schedule is as follows:

  • 9/15-9/17 vs. Cubs: Cole, Happ, Burnett, Morton
  • 9/18-9/20 at LAD: Locke, Liriano, Cole
  • 9/21-9/24 at COL: Burnett, Happ, Locke, Liriano (tentative) or Morton

Charlie Morton is still scheduled to be in the rotation; however, it is not clear if it will be later on the calendar or on the 24th to give Francisco Liriano some time down. Hurdle said that Liriano is a candidate for some rest because “every other year that we’ve had him here, he has had some time down”, noting his time on the disabled list in each of the past two years.

Essentially, the best guess is that the Pirates are going to have six starters in a five man rotation with the option of giving players a chance to rest, with Gerrit Cole being an example this past week. Hurdle was adamant about not going to a six man rotation yesterday, but it doesn’t seem as though there will be an odd man out as the season comes to a close.

Other Game Notes

**Starling Marte is out of the lineup again this afternoon with a stomach illness. Hurdle said that he may be available off of the bench if needed. Josh Harrison gets a fourth straight start and third straight in LF after going 4-for-4 last night.

**Hurdle said that he loves the buzz around town about the Pirates being in a race with the Cardinals and Cubs in the National League Central.

“Five years ago, they were apathetic,” Hurdle said. “It was all about 82. I remember people telling us, ‘just get us to .500’. The bar has been moved, and the expectation has been changed. It’s a sign of success.”

**Hurdle said that he has “zero regrets” for being aggressive and going after the division crown last year, rather than saving Gerrit Cole or Francisco Liriano for the Wild Card game.

“The day that I’m sitting at the desk as the manager of this club, and I have the opportunity to win a championship and don’t go for it, I need to be removed,” Hurdle said.

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