Bullpen moves and the Braves

Yesterday's ten-inning stint by the bullpen made it inevitable that the Pirates were going to have to do some shuffling for the coming series against the Braves, and today we know what that shuffling is. Jeanmar Gomez is headed to the 15-day disabled list with the forearm tightness (which is pretty ominous sounding), Alex Presley is heading back to Triple-A, Phil Irwin is going to the 60-day DL, and Jared Hughes and Ryan Reid are both joining the team in Atlanta for tonight's game. 

Hughes has been pretty solid since his demotion to Indianapolis. I still think he has the tools necessary to be a good big league reliever, but he has to have his sinker working and that's something that's been eluding him since late in the year last year. Reid has been pretty excellent with Indy, too, with a 3.44 K/BB ratio (31 Ks in 34 2/3 innings this year) to bolster his 0.52 ERA. He's worked quite a bit as a multi-inning reliever both last year with Durham (79 1/3 innings in 46 appearances) and this year with Indy (those 34 2/3 innings have come in just 20 appearances). Both guys can, at the least, be used to soak up innings for a few days before the Pirates have an off-day on Thursday. 

Because the Bucs do have an off-day both on Thursday and again on Monday, it's conceivable that they won't need a starter to fill Gomez's spot in the rotation until some time next week. As it stands, James McDonald pitched on Saturday and Charlie Morton pitched on Sunday, which means that either could be properly rested to start sometime in the middle of next week. Morton threw 86 pitches yesterday, so it seems like a decent bet that if he starts again on Friday that he could be ready to go for the Pirates by the middle of next week. McDonald is probably still a ways off. Andy Oliver, who is another potential option, is starting for Indianapolis today. Gerrit Cole turned in probably his best start of the year for Indy on Friday (7 IP,  2 H, 5 K, 1 BB, 0 R), but I'm guessing he's still a few good starts away from being considered for a promotion given the way that he's struggled with consistency in Indy this year. I could be wrong about that, of course; we'll probably be able to figure out who the Pirates are going to fill Gomez's rotation spot next week with the way that Indy's rotation gets juggled this week. 

Tonight in Atlanta, AJ Burnett goes against Kris Medlen. Burnett's been walking a lot of people lately (14 in his last five starts, which includes three four-walk starts), but he's still been awfully effective for the Pirates this year. Kris Medlen goes for the Braves; he's come back to earth quite a bit this year after last year's breakout season, though he's not nearly as bad as his 1-6 record indicates. 

First pitch tonight is at 7:10.

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.