Brandon Cumpton has been tabbed for today’s start against the Mets, which means that he gets the first shot at filling Wandy Rodriguez’s vacated rotation space. Cumpton made two decent starts for the Bucs while Rodriguez was on the disabled list, though the Pirates lost his first start 2-1 and he helped them cough up a 4-0 lead to the Orioles when he ran out of gas in his second start. He’s been really spectacular with Indianapolis this year, though, with a 1.35 ERA in his six starts. His strikeout rate is pretty low (4.7 K/9), but he’s only allowed 34 hits and one homer in 40 innings. I’m sure that rate isn’t quite sustainable at the big league level, but I think he’s earned this shot more than Jeff Locke, Casey Sadler, or Vance Worley at this point. I’m definitely more comfortable with him on the mound than I was with Wandy last week.
The Mets are the first time the Pirates have played literally since the Cubs in the second week of the season that I’ve thought, “This team isn’t so great.” They’re 7-16 after their 15-11 start, and they’ve only won two of their last seven. Hopefully that means that a rising Pirate team can take advantage of a sinking Mets team in CitiField this week. Certainly, the Pirates need to keep on stockpiling wins. I wrote a few weeks ago that I had hoped that they could get to .500 with a stabilized rotation by mid-June, which would allow for Gregory Polanco’s promotion to be a transformative event rather than a, “Hey, this is nice,” kind of thing. The four-game winning streak that ended yesterday made that seem like a maybe-not-insane-pipedream, but that will only stay true if the Pirates can get at least two wins against the Mets this week.
The Mets send Jacob deGrom to the mound today. He entered the year as minor league depth, but has pitched quite well both for the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas, as well as for the Mets in his two starts. First pitch today is at 1:10. Enjoy your Memorial Day, and remember to thank the veterans in your life if you have the chance.