It a move that shouldn’t come as much as a surprise for a team contending for a division title, the Pittsburgh Pirates won’t risk sending Jeff Locke to the mound again after his one inning debacle Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds.
According to MLB.com’s Tom Singer, Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle confirmed that Locke won’t make another start this season.
Hurdle confirms: Jeff Locke will not make another start this season for #Pirates. If games matter, Morton and Cole will follow A.J. in Cin.
— Tom Singer (@Tom_Singer) September 24, 2013
Locke would have been scheduled to take the ball again during the final series of the year against the Reds at Great American Ballpark, but with the games taking on major importance, running the All-Star back out there is something Hurdle simply can’t afford to do again.
A.J. Burnett is scheduled to pitch on Friday and will likely be followed by Charlie Morton and Gerrit Cole if he games matter, although Hurdle didn’t go as far to confirm that.
After a brilliant first half of the season that saw Locke rank among the league leaders in ERA and make his first All-Star team, things have gone downhill ever since.
Locke followed the great months of May (1.78 ERA) and June (1.67 ERA) with a month of July that wasn’t terrible (3.38 ERA), but you saw the slide coming, something many experts predicted would happen. After that it was a horrific August (7.94 ERA) and equally as rough September (6.00 ERA), culminating with his one inning pounding vs. the Reds.
His demise is similar to that of James McDonald last season, who similar to Locke put together a very good first half before finally being designated for assignment by the team a couple of weeks ago.
J-Mac had a 7.15 ERA in his last 45.1 innings pitched with the Pirates. Locke has posted a 7.25 ERA in his last 44.2 innings.
That doesn’t mean we haven’t seen the last of Locke, who could be used to save some arms in the event of a blowout win or loss.
But one thing is for sure and that is the fact that sadly Locke has blown his opportunity to pitch in big games in October.