Who Will Make the Start on Saturday for the Pirates?

By Jared Lankes 

Pirates vs Mets on Monday got postponed due to rain. They have a double header Tuesday with the first game coming at 4:05 and the second half an hour after the conclusion of Game 1. This has lead the Pirates to start both Jon Niese and Juan Nicasio for Tuesday, leading to a rotation gap for Saturday. Niese was supposed to go Saturday, but now he won’t be on regular rest to go that day. Combined that with the makeup game in Denver that causes the Pirates to use Jeff Locke then instead of over the weekend, the Pirates have a predicament on their hands. However, it may be one they needed.

The Pirates now have an empty rotation slot that they could use to call up one of their top prospects. They can start one of those guys Saturday with Niese on Sunday and Nicasio straight to the bullpen. The question isn’t about whether it will happen, I don’t think. The question might just be about who at this point. Well, let’s look.

Jameson Taillon is the top choice, but rest time might be an issue. He starts on Wednesday, which wouldn’t put him in line for Saturday, unless if they scratch him for Wednesday and give him an extra bullpen session or something. It can be done, but I’m worried it might be out of rhythm for him, especially for a guy that would already be feeling the pressure of an MLB debut on his shoulders.

Chad Kuhl makes some more sense, as he started Sunday. He’d be only on one extra days rest, so there’d be no need for an extra bullpen session for him. Pirates could turn to Kuhl if they don’t want to call up any of the top two guys, or if they think they only need a spot start at this point.

Tyler Glasnow is perfectly in line, as he pitched in Monday. This makes his next start Saturday, which would be in perfect rhythm for him. However, Glasnow is also the least ready of the three top AAA arms, so calling him up may be a little bit premature at this point. I don’t expect to see Glasnow even though he’d be on regular rest.

I definitely think we see one of these three arms on Saturday. I don’t think it’s a matter of if at this point. We are likely going to be well safely past Super 2 by Saturday, if we aren’t already. This is the opening the Pirates needed to get one of these guys up. I doubt they will miss out on this opportunity.

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