After nearly a full week of playing with a 23-man roster, the Pirates announced before the game that Andrew McCutchen will be placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to last Monday, freeing up a roster spot for Casey Sadler to help shore up the bullpen. Presumably Sadler will only be around until the weekend, when Gerrit Cole seems likely to rejoin the rotation after his strong rehab start yesterday. Of course, this does nothing to address the problems with the Pirates’ offense, which are legion at this point. Neil Walker is still taking up a roster spot and seemingly unable to play while Pedro Alvarez seems limited to pinch-hitting-only duty while he learns first base, which leaves way, way too many at-bats for Jayson Nix and Michael Martinez while Andrew Lambo destroys the ball in Indianapolis. I understand the Pirates taking a chance on players like McCutchen or Walker healing quickly and missing as little time as possible, but the confluence of events with their injuries and Alvarez’s mid-season position change makes it feel like the Pirates have certainly had a hand in painting themselves into the corner that they seem to be in offensively right now.
Obviously when you’re facing the Tigers, it’s a terrible time to be limited offensively. The good news is that the Pirates face arguably the Tigers’ fourth best starter tonight. The bad news is that the Tigers’ fourth best starter is Justin Verlander. Jeff Locke goes for the Pirates tonight, and with Cole’s return now impending, he may be pitching for his spot on the roster. Locke’s last start against the Marlins was one of his best of the year, but he’d been pitching pretty poorly before that.
First pitch tonight is at 7:05. I honestly have no idea how the Pirates are going to get through this week unless Neil Walker starts playing and Travis Snider finds his bat again, but, well, we’ll see. Nothing else we can do, really.