With Gerrit Cole returning to the rotation tomorrow night and an off-day on Monday, I think that there’s an awfully good chance that no matter the results of tonight’s game, Brandon Cumpton is going to be headed back down to Triple-A after his start tonight. A lot of Pirate fans want to see Jason Grilli removed from the roster at this point and while I think that’s a move that’s coming, I also think that the Pirates want Cumpton to be available to start if they need him to and that won’t happen if he moves to the bullpen after tonight’s start. Given Cole’s precarious health, there’s a chance the Pirates will keep Cumpton, ditch Grilli, and go with a six-man rotation until the break (Monday is their last off-day before the break, which isn’t until July 14th), but I kind of suspect they’re going to go in a different direction for now.
This isn’t hugely fair to Cumpton, who’s been quite good since his disaster at Dodger Stadium at the end of May, but then that is how these things work out sometimes. Cumpton has essentially played the role of the replacement level starter for the Pirates and he’s given them above-replacement level value. That’s a really important thing given that the Pirates have done even better than keep their head above water with both Cole and Liriano on the disabled list. Cumpton deserves some credit for that, even if he’s likely to be the odd-man out for a while after tonight.
Anyway, Jacob DeGrom goes for the Mets tonight, and I’m headed off to Durham to watch them play Indianapolis and our old friend Jose Tabata. I wasn’t able to go on Tuesday when Nick Kingham started, but at least it’s Casey Sadler on the mound tonight. First pitch for the Pirates is at 7:05. It’s time for the Pirates to put some distance between themselves and the .500 mark.