By Jared Lankes
The Pirates have had much better and more consistent starting pitching lately. The inclusion of Chad Kuhl and Ryan Vogelsong and the breakout of Jameson Taillon has been big in that happening. This combined with getting rid of Jon Niese and Francisco Liriano as well as putting Jeff Locke in the bullpen. One guy that wasn’t expected to do as well as he’s been is Ryan Vogelsong. His start on Monday was only okay, but the previous two starts before that were outstanding. It begs the question; can Vogelsong stick in the rotation the rest of the year?
Firstly, I get the feeling that Vogelsong will be in the rotation for the rest of the month at least. He’s earned it with his first few starts. The other factors play into that too. The only option that could replace him immediately is Steven Brault. Tyler Glasnow suffered a setback in rehab, Drew Hutchison will not be up until September, and then there’s Locke. There’s no reason to think that Vogelsong won’t stay in the rotation as long as he pitches effectively.
The other thing is that the Pirates have alluded to the possibility of a 6-man rotation. They did that last year late in the season as well. It’s not known what the rotation would look like in that scenario, but again, if Vogelsong pitches well he will be in there. One thing is for sure, the ball is in Vogelsong’s court right now.
The rotation currently has only 3 guys that’ll definitely be in there. That being Cole, Taillon, and Nova (and even the scenario with Nova could change if he pitches poorly going into September). The rest is up for grabs, and Vogelsong is in the thick of that race and even has the advantage currently. It is still a fluid situation with him in the rotation right now. However, if Vogelsong pitches like a quality member of the rotation, he will certainly have a spot. He is very much capable of being in the rotation through the stretch. It’s all in front of him, but he still needs to earn it.