The Pirates are coming down the stretch now and it is beginning to look like the Pirates will be in the playoffs again. They will probably win over 90 games and still not win the division. They may not even be the first wild card as that is still in the air and a reason to play hard through September. The Cubs are hot, and the Pirates are much better at home, so that top wild card spot is enormous.
Who the Pirates will bring up is an interesting question. Every team wants some more arms and the Pirates will surely do that. Hopefully AJ Burnett will return and push either Locke or Happ to the pen. You can also count on Rob Scahill returning to the pen. There is not a lot of other pitching help currently on the 40 Man. Casey Sadler is hurt, and Bobby Lafromboise is not much help at all. I think the Pirates will probably try to get Vance Worley or Liz back on the 40 and bring them up to help out as well. The easiest way to do this is to move Deolis Guerra to the 60 DL opening a spot.
The Pirates are pretty loaded on offense right now and already have trouble finding playing time for Harrison and Mercer, but they will surely bring some help up. Ishikawa will return from the DL to add something, but the Pirates are going to want more and they have to make a decision if that includes Corey Hart. Hart does not serve much of a purpose and he probably just gets cut. I assume Jaff Decker will also return to the Pirates for an extra lefty bat on the bench.
The Pirates have shown a desire to carry 3 catchers during September, and they have the option of Tony Sanchez, who is not good behind the plate but has experience, and Elias Diaz, who is better defensively but more important to Indy (who is going to continue playing). I expect one will make the trip to Pittsburgh.
The interesting thing is what about Travis Snider, who they just signed, or Pedro Florimon, who would be defensive help and base running speed. Someone has to come off the 40 man to make room for these guys. Lafromboise is a possibility. So is Tony Sanchez, who probably gets dumped in the off season anyway. Ishikawa may also be on the chopping block, but one has to think that he is better equipped to help down the stretch than Florimon, and maybe Snider too. He has postseason experience and while only hitting .220 with the Pirates has on OBP of over .400. Of course dumping Lafromboise may also open up the space for Liz or Worley, which ever was not added when Deolis Guerra goes to the 60 Day or gets dumped (as he was once earlier). It should be interesting to see what the Pirates do to fill out the roster for September.
Slightly early gamethread: Taillon faces Arrieta
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