Here is what I wrote when the Pirates called up Chad Qualls and Dan McCutchen this afternoon:
I get not wanting to throw Morris or Wilson straight into the fire and risk having an untested rookie blow a lead, but keeping guys like Qualls and McCutchen around with Morris and Wilson in the minor leagues is borderline criminal. It will cost the Pirates games in the next two weeks. It makes no sense at all to me.
Chad Qualls entered in the eighth inning down by one run. He gave up a run. Garrett Jones's two-run homer in the ninth inning tied the game instead of putting the Pirates ahead. When the Pirates didn't score in the tenth inning, Clint Hurdle brought McCutchen in. He walked a batter and gave up an absolute bomb of a home run to Chase Headley. Joel Hanrahan sat in the bullpen unused. Jared Hughes? In the bullpen, unused. Chris Resop? In the bullpen, unused. Bryan Morris and Justin Wilson? Mystifyingly still in Triple-A.
We can talk about how the offense didn't come through often enough tonight. We can talk about the brutal defense the Pirates played in the middle of this game. We can talk about how Hurdle once again had a too-slow hook with AJ Burnett and it caught up to him tonight. We can wonder why it's so hard for Hurdle to recognize that Jason Grilli strikes everyone out and so he should be your go-to guy with runners on base instead of guys like Tony Watson.
The Pirates are in a playoff race. The general manager is not building the roster like a general manager in a playoff race. That's creating a gimped bullpen for a manager who's not using his bullpen like a manager in a playoff race. Nothing at all makes sense about the way the bullpen has been filled or used since Brad Lincoln was traded. I've said it over and over again: the Pirates have better options than what they currently have in their bullpen. They're choosing not to explore them for reasons that make no sense to anyone that's paying attention to this team. They're losing games because of it.
I went to bed after Jones tied it up in the 9th. Reading about how we lost makes me happy I did, because it would have been so damned infuriating to watch live.
I'm a Hurdle fan. Back when the game threads had 50+ posts instead of just me and wbkortas bantering back and forth, I'd defend him time and time again. All that being said, he's been pissing me off almost since the All-Star break with his inexplicable and increasingly maddening decisions.
Why was AJ left in the game? 1st and 2nd, 1 out in the 6th... You have to go for runs there. With the bullpen as it is, you're better off piling up runs and hoping they stem the damage rather than play a close 1 run game. He ALWAYS leaves AJ in one inning too long. Stupid stupid stupid...
Then Qualls. We FINALLY get rid of that useless Cruz only to bring in Qualls in high leverage situations. That's like cutting off your hand to get rid of splinter while simultaneously stepping on a rusty nail. Good grief, it's like they're MLB-mandated to carry at least one completely inept reliever or something.
I love that they have no qualms throwing completely unproven and untested guys like Snider or Marte into the fire of a playoff race but Morris or Macpherson or Wilson? Oh no, we can't bring them up. D-Cutch and Qualls are much better options! Just maddening.
Finally, I leave you with my usual advice for fixing the 'pen: BRING UP GERRIT COLE!
Normally I agree with your posts, but I'm sorry that here I have to disagree. 100% obviously, McCutchen should not have been pitching the 10th. Duh. (Though unsurprisingly Hurdle doesn't know this.) But he needed to be on the roster today. You're mystified that Morris and Wilson are in AAA this evening? Both pitched yesterday and would have been unavailable anyway. Hughes and Resop have been overused and Hurdle (and Searage?) said before the game they were leaning toward not using them. Correia can't be the long man since he's pitched two days in a row now. Like it or not, Hurdle entered the 10th with probably 2 truly available pitchers, and if he used Hanrahan there and they hadn't recalled McCutchen, it'd be Wandy again or something crazy.
Now, as I said above, Hurdle's USE of his bullpen is another matter entirely...