With yesterday’s off-day and the recent struggles of James McDonald and Erik Bedard, there’s been quite a bit of speculation this week over whether or not the Pirates would do something to shuffle the rotation a bit for this series in Cincinnati. Indeed, the Pirates will make a small change this weekend, moving AJ Burnett to Sunday and pushing Erik Bedard’s start back to Monday. Because of the off-day, Burnett stays on regular rest. Since he’s been the Pirates’ best pitcher recently, it’d make sense to get him on the mound as often as possible even if the Pirates were playing the Astros this weekend, (with five off days left, counting yesterday, this would get Burnett an extra start before the season ends). That said, I’m sure the Reds have something to do with the decision.
That makes the pitching matchups for this weekend look like this: Wandy Rodriguez and Mat Latos tonight, James McDonald and Mike Leake tomorrow, and Burnett and Homer Bailey on Sunday. That’s about as favorable of a three game set as the Pirates can hope to get –in terms of pitching matchups — against the Reds, I think. Wandy definitely gets the toughest draw against Latos tonight, and so you can immediately see the depth that having him in the rotation provides; having to open this three-game set with Correia on the mound tonight and the struggling McDonald tomorrow sure seems like a potential recipe for disaster.
Anyone else getting nervous? I sure am.