In what could be viewed as either a too-little-too-late stab or a desperation move by Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, struggling pitcher James McDonald has been removed from the Bucs’ starting rotation.
McDonald, who had an All-Star worthy first half of the season, has been abysmal in the second half; J-Mac’s 7.08 ERA after the break has been a big part of the Pirates’ recent struggles. He will be replaced by rookie Kyle McPherson, who will make his first start in a Pirates uniform Wednesday against the Milwaukee Brewers.
J-Mac is 12-8 on the season with a 4.05 ERA and will move to the bullpen. While his overall numbers aren’t terrible, his post All-star break numbers are eye opening. However, sending him to the bullpen now is a move that could be viewed by Pirates fans as coming two or three weeks too late.
The Bucs enter their final 18 games trailing the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers by two games for the NL’s final wild card spot The Milwaukee Brewers are only 2.5 games back and the Philadelphia Phillies are three back.
They do have the chance to do some moving in the standings though as they have two games remaining against the Cubs, followed by three against the Brewers and three against the Houston Astros.